Hard times for Dutch solar installers

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Techniek Nederland – a Dutch association representing technical service providers, installation companies, and technical retailers – has written to the lower chamber of the Dutch parliament to highlight the challenges for rooftop PV installers in the Netherlands.

The trade group attributed the recent decline in demand for rooftop PV systems to the government’s uncertainty over grid fees imposed by four energy suppliers – Budget Energie, Vattenfall, Eneco, and Engie – on residential PV system owners. A lack of a long-term strategy for the segment has also contributed to the drop in demand.

We fear many company closures and bankruptcies among recognized installers,” the association said, noting that the market has been saturated by the presence of many newcomers without experience. “Of the around 3,000 existing installers in the Netherlands, only 650 have been certified as PV installers. These recognized installers have made significant investments in quality, safety and training of their staff. That makes their services more expensive than those of non-certified installers.”

In addition, the association criticized a decision by the Dutch Senate in February to reject a proposal to phase out the country’s net-metering scheme by 2025. The newly formed government coalition later said that the scheme would be phased out starting Jan. 1, 2027. The association noted that consumer confidence has significantly declined due to a lack of clarity regarding the management of the scheme’s phasing-out stage. Waiting for a potential new policy on rooftop solar is not feasible, it said.

According to Techniek Nederland, installers alone cannot convince consumers that new PV systems are still a smart choice. Given the massive declines in sales, we cannot afford to wait until then a new minister for climate has taken office,” the letter reads.

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The Dutch solar market gained 4.82 GW of new PV capacity in 2023, according to the “Nationaal Solar Trendrapport 2023” study, which was recently published by consultancy Dutch New Energy (DNE) Research. Of the new capacity installed last year, around 2.5 GW came in the form of residential installations – up from 2.2 GW a year earlier. The remaining 2.4 GW of capacity came from the commercial and industrial and large-scale market segments.

DNE Research estimates that the Netherlands could reach an installed PV capacity of 59 GW by 2030 and 98 GW by 2035.

According to a recent report by Netbeheer Nederland, the Dutch association of national-regional electricity and gas network operators, the country could reach between 100 GW and 180 GW of total installed solar capacity by 2050.

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