Netherlands allocates 2.3 GW of solar in spring round of SDE+ program for large-scale renewables

The Dutch Ministry of Economy has announced it has selected 4,386 PV projects with a combined capacity of 2,353 MW in the first round of the 2017 SDE+ (Stimulering Duurzame Energieproductie).

The government-run agency Rijkdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), which is managing the SDE+ program, had previously pre-selected PV projects totaling 2,647 MW.

Overall, the RVO has allocated 3,212 MW of renewable energy power generation capacity through the bidding round, the remainder of which is represented by large-scale wind projects totaling 643 MW, biomass projects with a combined capacity of 110 MW, and geothermal projects equaling 50 MW. The remaining 52 MW are represented by other minor renewable energy technologies.

Despite solar  boasting a share of 73% of the assigned projects, it will require only 49% of the funds allocated for the incentives, while wind power, which had a share of only 20% of the contracted capacity, will be entitled to receive 38% of the financial resources. PV projects will account for €2.86 billion, while wind power projects will require funds of €2.20 billion. Although the RVO had set a budget of €6 billion for this bidding round, the agency will grant incentives in the amount of €5.83 billion for all the selected projects.

In a letter sent to Parliament, in which details of the first round of the program were provided, the Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp stressed that the positive performance of solar, both in terms of allocated capacity and funds, was made possible by the cost reduction achieved by the PV technology over the past few years.

The first round of the 2017 SDE program had three separate windows for submitting project proposals, which were opened on March 7, 13 and 20, and had a maximum tariff for solar of €0.090/kWh, €0.110/kWh and €0.125/kWh, respectively. Subsidies are granted for periods of eight, 12 or 15 years depending on the maximum number of full load hours for each technology.

The SDE+ compensates for the difference between the cost price of renewable energy and the market value of the energy supplied. Only PV projects with a power greater than 15 kW and a large-scale energy connection are eligible for SDE+ subsidies.

The “autumn round” for 2017, which will be the second and last round for this year, will be open from October 3 to October 27. The available budget for this round will be €6 billion.

According to figures provided to pv magazine by Peter Segaar, owner of solar website and analyst of Dutch solar market trends, operational ground-mounted PV installations exceeding 50 kW reached just 58 MW at the end of February. Most of the PV projects approved under the SDE+ program, however, have recently been completed. According to Segaar, the large 2016 budget allocations for the SDE+ program are partly realized, and another 600 MW in new PV power stations could be connected to the grid this year.