The Netherlands is considered the largest importer of solar panels in the world, especially from China

The Netherlands is considered the largest importer of solar panels in the world, especially from China

The Netherlands was the largest importer of solar panels in the world last year. The total value of all solar panels that entered our country amounted to approximately 12 billion euros, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). This is about 2 billion euros more than what the second largest importer, the United States, collected in solar panels.

The fact that a small country like the Netherlands imports so many solar panels is partly because most of them are immediately exported. About 60% of imported panels crossed the border again almost immediately, often into other EU member states.

Compared to 2021, imports also rose sharply. This figure, if expressed in euros, was more than double, because solar panel prices rose sharply due to high demand. High prices for gas and electricity as a result of the war in Ukraine have made it more attractive to become more sustainable. The weight of imports increased by 70 percent.

Most solar energy

The Netherlands not only buys solar panels on trade, but also uses many of them itself. Within the EU, the Netherlands could generate the most solar energy per capita in 2022. The Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO) estimates that 10 million panels were added in the Netherlands last year, bringing the total to about 58 million.

This growing popularity also has drawbacks for households that have solar panels on their roofs. In sunny times, the supply of electricity is sometimes so great that prices fall sharply, prompting energy companies to sharply reduce their compensation for the electricity they supply back into the grid. Vandebron, the energy supplier, recently decided to charge owners of solar panels between 10 and 20 euros per month for all costs incurred by the company for the return of solar energy.

China is the largest supplier of solar panels imported by the Netherlands, with a share of 89%. This dependence on China can be explained by the fact that many important materials used in solar panels can also be found in the country. This concerns, for example, gallium, magnesium and rare earth metals. China represents at least 65 percent of global production of each of these materials.

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