Netherlands awards 1.9 GW of PV in SDE+ 2017 autumn round

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland – RVO) announced that it has allocated 1,910.8 MW of PV capacity in the second round of its 2017 SDE+ (Stimulering Duurzame Energieproductie) program for large-scale solar and renewable energy power projects.

The agency had originally accepted applications for 5,456 PV projects with a combined capacity of 3,221 MW for the round. This means that around 1,310.2 MW of solar projects was not ultimately selected by the Dutch government.

As in most of previous recent rounds, solar had the largest share accounting for around 57.3% of all assigned capacity, followed by onshore wind, which had a 34.1% share thanks to a total of 1,137.8 MW of allocated power.

Overall, around 3,330 MW of renewable energy generation capacity was contracted through the round, including 149.4 MW of geothermal projects, 133.8 MW of biomass power plants and other minor renewables. A total of 4,215 renewable energy installations were ultimately selected in the round, of which 3,945 were solar power projects.

Although solar had the largest share in terms of capacity, of the €6 billion devoted to the round, only around 38% of the budget – €2.32 billion – was assigned to solar, while another 46% – €2.76 billion – went to wind power projects, with the remaining amount being left to the other aforementioned renewable energy sources. “The rising number of PV projects compared to the previous rounds is mainly due to constantly decreasing costs of the solar technology,” the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Change, Eric Wiebes said in a letter sent to Netherlands’ Parliament.

The round, however, was not the most successful one for solar, as in the first round of last year, the so-called “Spring Round,” solar obtained 2,353 MW. The number of rejected projects was also quite lower, as the pre-assigned PV capacity was only by around 300 MW higher at 2,647 MW.

Including the latest round, around 5.9 GW of solar capacity has been allocated in all rounds of the SDE+ program since it was launched in 2008. In the four first years of the program, solar had only a minimal share, overwhelmed by wind and geothermal projects. As the costs of PV technology started to decrease consistently, and the Dutch energy sector began becoming aware of the advantages of PV, solar saw its share grow significantly round by round.

According to Peter Segaar, owner of solar website www.polderpv.nl and analyst of Dutch solar market trends, among the selected solar projects there is also a 109.8 MW PV facility planned for the municipality of Westerwolde, in the province of Groningen. If built, the plant would become Benelux’ largest PV project, according to Segaar.