Dutch government to improve SDE+ program for sub-1 MW PV projects

Although the Netherlands’ SDE+ program for large-scale renewable energy projects is in theory open to all solar projects larger than 15 kW, most of the assigned capacity in all of the program’s previous rounds went to installations of several MW in capacity.

The Dutch government, however, may now decide to give more chance to commercial and industrial projects not exceeding 1 MW in size under the program. According to the Dutch solar energy association Holland Solar, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) has advised the country’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Change, Eric Wiebes to create separate categories for PV projects up to 1 MW starting from the next “Autumn Round” of the program.

The association said that the creation of better conditions for rooftop PV in the frame of the SDE+ support scheme is the result of an intensive lobbying activity that it conducted earlier this year.

The Autumn Round will include four different categories and tariffs for photovoltaic projects:

  • PV projects in the range of 15 kW to 100 kW will be awarded a basic tariff of around €0.106/kWh in the latest round of 2018, and of €0.101/kWh in the two rounds planned for 2019.
  • PV installations ranging in size from 100 kW to 1 MW will be granted a tariff €0.102/kWh in the Autumn Round, and of €0.092/kWh in 2019.
  • Projects above 1 MW will be entitled to a basic tariff of €0.092/kWh in 2018, and of €0.084/kWh in 2019.
  • PV facilities larger than 1 MW and relying on a solar tracker technology will be awarded basic rate of €0.092/kWh in 2018, and of €0.084/kWh in 2019.

According to Holland Solar, the new provisions for the Autumn Round will be introduced by the end of the summer.

The SDE+ program compensates for the difference between the cost price of renewable energy and the market value of the energy supplied. Subsidies are allocated for periods of 8, 12 or 15 years, depending on the maximum number of full load hours for each technology.

In December, the Dutch government announced that the budget for the 2018 SDE+ program remained unchanged at €12 billion. Wiebes also specified that for solar PV, a distinction will be made this year between the electricity injected into the grid and self-consumed power on the basis of the guarantees of origin released by CertiQ, the country’s entity that certifies renewable energy. “The advantage, for those PV plant owners with a high rate of self-consumption, will be avoiding the payment of grid and systems costs”, Wiebes said in a letter to the Dutch Parliament.

Overall, around 4 GW of PV capacity were allocated in all rounds of the SDE+ program. According to the Dutch portal, Solarmagazine, however, the current amount of grid-connected PV capacity under the scheme is only slightly above 700 MW.