The number of solar panels installed in the Netherlands has grown further in 2011. Total capacity was raised by 40 megawatts, i.e. twice as much as in 2010. As a result, the generation of solar electricity increased to 90 million kWh in 2011, but the contribution of solar electricity to total energy consumption is still insignificant.
Small contribution solar electricity to total electricity consumption
The generation of solar electricity grew to 90 million kWh in 2011 or about 0.1 percent of total annual electricity consumption and corresponds to the approximate consumption of 28 thousand households.
Capacity solar panels and generation of solar electricity
Netherlands lagging behind in Europe
In various European countries, the generation of solar electricity is much more prominent than in the Netherlands. In Germany, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic, the contribution of solar electricity was approximately 3 percent in 2011. The subsidies in these countries are more generous. With 1.4 percent, Belgium was at the same level as the EU average. In the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and ten other EU countries, solar electricity accounted for less than 0.1 percent of total electricity consumption.
Contribution solar electricity in total energy consumption in Europe
Investment pays off sooner
Solar panel prices have plummeted in recent years, because manufacturers managed to reduce the costs. Prices are also under pressure due to the import of cheap panels manufactured by China. Investing in solar panels to generate electricity thus becomes profitable for private individuals and entrepreneurs. The solar electricity generated by private small-scale consumers can be deducted from their total electricity consumption. Thus, they will pay less energy tax.
Solar electricity is subsidised. Last year, the Subsidy Scheme for Durable Energy Production (SDE) was the most important subsidy on solar panels in the Netherlands. About half of new solar panels were installed with SDE subsidy. Last year, the SDE subsidy paid for installation of solar panels to generate electricity amounted to 7 million euro, whereas Germany paid about 7 billion euro.
Reinoud Segers and Senne Janssen