Clean Power

Published on March 3rd, 2014 | by Roy L Hales


Update: Dutch Solar PV Numbers Seem To Be Erroneous

March 3rd, 2014 by  

netherlands solar power

Originally published on The ECO Report.

This article replaces a previous article we published about the Dutch PV numbers in question.

A report that the Dutch feed-in-tariff (FiT) system resulted in the installation of 665.470 MW of grid-connected PV installations by the end of 2013 appears to be erroneous. According to Peter Segaar, from the Dutch website Polder PV (, the official figures have not yet been released and Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp has suggested (in his August 29, 2013 letter to Parliament) that there will be NO evaluation of that rebate programme. If the present cabinet has its way, “it will never more be repeated.” (Rutte II).

Segaar was clarifying two stories that have been picked up by North American media.

According to PV Tech, “The Dutch solar rebate fund was launched 1 July 2012, with a budget of €22 million (US$29.2 million) and was extended by €30 million (US$39.9 million) in November 2012, after 33,000 projects were granted rebates totalling €18.7 million (US$24.8 million) … Approximately 315MW of solar has been installed under the scheme as of 7 August 2013, and there is now no more funding available.”

A follow up, from the same site, states that the Dutch introduced a number of reforms and installed 665.470 MW by the end of 2013.

It is not known how many sites picked these stories up, but this site was among them.

Peter Segaar wrote that the 315 MW figure originated as “an erroneous misinterpretation of the former (government) agency’s press department. This has been confirmed by an employee there in a personal communication to me (that person was on holiday when those curious numbers were published). That high volume ‘cannot match’ the approximate 90,000 systems under the rebate scheme, since average system capacity under that programme has been far below the 3,5 kWp suggested (or implied) on average per installation.”

“Definitive numbers are still not known for that (initial) ‘rebate programme,’ which was only one of many political stupidities, and lasted only from July 2, 2012, up till August 7, 2013, when the programme was through the maximum budget allocated. There was no control or demand whatever on quality, just a max. EUR 650 fee you could obtain.”

As regards the total number of megawatts supposedly installed under the Dutch PV FiT program, Segaar wrote, ”There is much to do on the production figures of solar panels in the Netherlands, I complain about it for many years. CBS estimates with an outdated — alleged — specific yield * 700 kWh / kWp.jaar for the entire population grid-connected systems is estimated by statisticians at the end of a year (the last few years with help from my supplier lists). For autonomous, non grid-connected installations CBS used an equally debatable number of 400 kWh / kWp.jaar to ‘multiply.’ The year-end accumulation (up PV power) with… And thus a fictive available (not measured) “production of solar electricity.” The assumptions are highly questionable, because nothing is measured, and important factors is not at all taken into account.”

Mr Segaar has provided links to a number of his articles (some in Dutch, others with a translation available) which contain graphs and statistics:

Mr Segaar’s evidence appears substantial enough to dismiss any further repetition of the 665.470 MW figure unless it is confirmed by a great deal of supporting evidence (which presently seems unlikely).

Netherlands solar panels via Shutterstock

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About the Author

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the the ECOreport, a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 1,600 since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

  • Peter Segaar / Polder PV

    Another “reason” why people could hesitate to register with the net managers lies in the fact that the Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp (liberal party VVD) has already spoken out that the “net metering scheme” as has existed de jure since July 2004, but longer since Ferraris meters were abound in Netherlands (that “automatically net meter”) will be discontinued in a few years time.

    The “wordings” for this serious threat to the Dutch PV market (dominated by residental installs) become more explicit from the official side. If The Hague finally sees that due to very strong growth each year many millions of Euro’s on taxations are not streaming to State’s coffers anymore, you can fill in for yourself, what will possibly happen. Don’t forget: 70% of the kWh tariff (incl. taxes app. 22-23 Eurocent/kWh) is taxation. That tax remains with the residential PV owner under the net-metering scheme, for all kWhs produced that he or she is allowed to subtract from “net-consumption”.

    An every growing, already large amount of residential capacity times loss of high taxation makes for troubles in the Residency. That is also a reason why you would want to avoid “registration” in some poorly controlled, non-official register by the net managers…

  • Hans

    Some nuance:

    There is no FiT in the Netherlands, but net metering. PV systems are installed behind the meter, and the kWh meter can run backwards* if your production is at any moment larger than your consumption. So in practice the “FiT” equals the consumer price. Because of this PV is profitable even without subsidies. There is also no obligation to register your system so determining how many PV systems are out there is a question of educated guesses.

    Strangely enough there are still (unnecessary) subsidies handed out, probably because politicians are not aware of the enormous drop in the price of PV systems. Only the subsidised systems are known to the government.

    * At least if you have an old-fashioned Ferraris-meter (the ones with the turning disk), with digital meters there is a calculation at the end of the year.

    • Hans

      Correction: “Strangely (unnecessary) subsidies were still handed out until last year,..

  • Matt

    So short version. Old numbers were wrong, because no one knows how much was install under any of the Dutch programs.

    • Peter Segaar / Polder PV

      More nuance…

      Well, actually the 665 Megawatts “are” in the register of the net managers, but (a) it still can’t be all because of the non-legal status of that database. No one knows how much capacity and/or installations are not in that register. (b) There still could be errors in that register, the scale of which is unknown (you must enter data many people are not familiar with, verification procedure is not known, you can also cancel previous registration, apparently without much effort). (c) Large installations seem to be not included! (biggest project, Floriade roof 2.3 MW, is not in that register, I must do some other checks for known bigger projects…).

      It has become better, net managers are strongly pushing at least new installations “to register”, but they cannot enforce it in the present situation.

      Regards “a FIT”. Of course we have “something like that too”, which is under the so-called SDE programme. That started April 1, 2008 and is still running (top priority for the Hague, since “all” renewables – or so-called renewables – are in it). Although several times the “rules” have been revised. But the conditions have been so terrible for photovoltaics, that in 6 years time app. 90 Megawatts have come out of that “national programme”. Often, other subsidies and/or (tax) incentives have been combined to realise projects. In the earlier years, even residential systems could apply: they net meter AND have SDE subsidy for 15 years… Since 2011, residential systems are impossible under that scheme, minimum project size must be 15 kWp. That is a BIG house in Netherlands…

      SDE has become only a minor portion of total installs that, up till now, have been dominated by “net metering” residential and some larger installations (max. allowed if net connection capacity does not exceed 3x 80 amps).

      In May the very first “official” numbers for 2013 will be published by the national statistics bureau, CBS. As in recent years, they depend on lists of companies that “offer PV” that I am continually updating. Lists they must check – by calling the companies – for sold capacity (numbers of installations are not captured). The lists have exploded in numbers, I now have already over 1100 companies acting on Dutch soil (and a few in neighboring countries with explicit offer for Dutch parties). For 2011 and 2012 CBS had to upgrade the sold capacities in later updates due to my most recent lists. In total that has been app. 40 MWp extra capacity added in those 2 years. It is still possible that some more capacity should be added for recent years. Years that are, however, “officially closed” in the books and national statistics…

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