Solar power increasing, but has a long way to go in NL
Solar power in the Netherlands has risen over the past decade, most notably since 2008. In 2011 the number of solar panels installed increased once again, and the 40 megawatts of capacity added was double that added in 2010. Nevertheless, the share of total energy use derived from solar power remains very limited.
As a result of this expansion, solar power production rose to 90 million kWh in 2011. This corresponds to about 0,1 percent of total electricity consumption in the Netherlands, and is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of approximately 28.000 households.
Solar power is much more important in some European countries than in the Netherlands, mainly because it is subsidised more generously elsewhere. For example, in Germany, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic, the contribution of solar energy to electricity was around 3 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the UK, and ten other EU countries, the production of solar power represents less than 0,1 percent of the total consumption of electricity.
The prices of solar panels have fallen significantly in recent years as producers have managed to bring down their costs and as a result of price pressure from cheap panels imported from China. As a result, individuals and businesses that purchased solar panels have seen an accelerated return on their investment. Moreover, domestic consumers can subtract their solar energy production from their electricity usage and as a result pay less in energy taxes.
Solar power is supported by subsidies. In 2011, the Sustainable Energy Production Incentive (SDE) was the most important subsidy for new solar panels in the Netherlands, supporting approximately half of the new panels installed. In 2011 about 7 million euros in SDE subsidies for solar power were distributed, but by comparison, over the same period in Germany about 7 billion euros in subsidies were granted.
Source: Statistics Netherlands