The Netherlands imports the most solar panels - but doesn't use them

The Netherlands imports the most solar panels - but doesn't use them

The Netherlands has been named as the country that imports the most solar panels in the world, but it doesn't actually use around 60 percent of them. The country is a key re-exporter of Chinese-made solar panels.

The Netherlands re-exports 60 percent of its solar panels

Despite the high number of solar panels imported, and the growing interest in the technology due to high energy prices following the start of the war in Ukraine, the Netherlands only keeps around 40 percent of the solar panels it ships in. That’s because the country re-exports the remaining 60 percent to other nations, such as neighbouring Germany. Around 89 percent of the solar panels that the Netherlands imports are produced in China. 

The total value of Dutch solar panel imports equalled 11,9 billion euros in 2022, according to Statistics Netherlands, with 10,5 billion euros worth of tech coming from China. The United States imported the second most solar panels, but their imports were much less reliant on China. Brazil came in third place. 

Demand is increasing for Dutch re-exported goods

Solar panels are not the only goods that the Dutch are importing and then selling on. In 2022, the Netherlands exported 731,4 billion euros' worth of goods to customers around the world, of which 368,3 billion euros were re-exports, according to NU. Re-exported goods are typically goods that were manufactured outside the country, then imported to the Netherlands and re-exported once again with minimal changes made. 

2022 was the first year that the number of re-exports from the Netherlands was greater than the number of Dutch-made goods shipped overseas. While overall, Dutch companies traded more in 2022, firms made and processed fewer products themselves, NU stated.



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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