Solar panel sales are skyrocketing in the Netherlands right now. According to BNR, a Dutch news radio station, installers and importers are reporting sales increases in the first half of 2015 of between 70% and 100% compared to the same period in 2014. Total sales are expected to hit 2 million panels this year, which is a lot considering the size of the Dutch population, which is fewer than 17 million people. This increase is sorely needed as well, since currently only 0.2% of all consumed electricity in the Netherlands is produced by solar.
This strong growth is not caused by some kind of recent drop in solar prices. In the Netherlands, solar power costs are quite stable at the moment. Peter Desmet, CEO of the large solar panel wholesaler Solarclarity, said in an interview with BNR that he doesn’t expect prices to drop anytime soon. He argues that because the European Union has set a minimum import price on Chinese panels, which has a big impact since roughly 8 out of 10 sold panels are Chinese, prices will not decrease in the near future. He also thinks a strong global increase in demand is playing a role here.
So, if the prices haven’t dropped that much in the past year, what else caused this tremendous surge in solar sales? Peter Desmet says to BNR this is due to clarity regarding government regulations and subsidies. Last year, uncertainty about the future of incentives withheld people from putting photovoltaics on their roofs. This year, there is more trust in the permanence of the government’s way of stimulating households to get solar panels, which is a net metering system in which unused solar electricity from households is fed back into the power grid and this amount of power is deducted from the electricity bill of the supplying household [editor’s note: this is not actually a subsidy, but widely considered a fair payment for the electricity]. In this way the energy your panels generate during the day can, at least on paper, be used in the evening, when it’s much more needed in your home. This makes it financially very interesting to install solar panels on your roof in the Netherlands.
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