Dutch farmers left with no connection for their PV arrays


Dutch farming association LTO Noord has revealed that several farmers who recently deployed rooftop PV systems have seen themselves denied permission to connect their installation due to a lack of grid capacity.

“This is a very big problem and it hits the roof of our farmers and horticulturists,” said the association's director, Nico Verduin, adding that the affected PV system owners should be somehow compensated for their losses.

The trade body cited as an example a dairy farmer located in Friesland, one of the Netherlands' most affected provinces in terms of grid constraints, who deployed a PV array based on 800 solar modules. “After paying the costs, however, he received a message from the grid operator that no more electricity may be injected into the grid,” it explained. “This means that this dairy farmer will suffer considerable financial damage as he spends a lot of money every month on interest, depreciation and maintenance of the installation, for which there is no income.” The access to the grid, according to LTO Noord, has been denied until 2024.

The case is not isolated and many other farmers are being left without a grid connection approval, the association added. “There are also companies that were initially notified that they could be connected to the grid, but were suddenly unable to do so after they received the subsidy.”

The Netherlands has been experiencing grid capacity issues across several provinces since last year. Several solutions are being proposed to improve capacity and deploy an increasing number of solar parks and rooftop PV systems, including shared connection points between solar and wind, using bi-directional EV recharging stations, coupling rooftop with heat pumps, and hydrogen production.

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Dutch power company Liander recently implemented several measures to increase grid capacity in several Dutch regions. These include the deployment of two giant transformers and the application of congestion management to a bottleneck in the grid.

In November, Netbeheer Nederland and Dutch renewable energy associations De Nederlandse Vereniging Duurzame Energie (NVDE) and Holland Solar signed a preliminary agreement to ensure faster and cheaper grid connection of large-scale solar power plants to the network.

The Netherlands could reach between 38 GW and 125 GW of total installed solar capacity by 2050, according to a recent report by Netbeheer Nederland, the Dutch association of national and regional electricity and gas network operators.

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