July 5, 2022

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The turbulent growth of solar energy in four graphs |  Currently

The turbulent growth of solar energy in four graphs | Currently

Ten years ago, there were no solar panels on roofs and in lawns, but now things are different. Last year, the Netherlands got nearly 10 percent of all electricity from sunlight. These four graphs illustrate the rapid growth of solar energy in our country.

In 2011, there were about 170 megawatts of solar panels across the Netherlands, which together produced enough electricity for less than 40,000 homes. Last year a solar park opened in Drenthe that produces the same amount of power on its own: 120 megawatts.

There are now over 14,000 megawatts of solar panels across the Netherlands. One and a half million homes generate solar energy on rooftops, but there are also more and more panels in lawns, on corporate rooftops and even on the water.


Almost one Terschelling of solar panels

The Netherlands has an estimated 44 million solar panels. We assume an average power of 330 Watts at peak, which is an estimate by the Holland Solar trade association.

If you lay all those millions of panels next to each other flat on the ground, you could fill an area of ​​over 70 square kilometers. This is about the size of Terschelling Island.


The Netherlands (almost) is the luckiest one

Solar energy in the Netherlands is growing much faster than in other countries. Only Australia has more solar capacity per capita. In Europe, the Netherlands leads the way, followed by Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.

This is amazing, because the Netherlands is located to the north, solar panels produce relatively little energy here. The same plate produces much more electricity in Spain or Australia, because those countries are closer to the equator and therefore receive more bright sunlight. In addition, it is often cloudy.


Paintings continue to drop in price

Solar generation has been able to grow strongly because the price of solar panels has fallen dramatically. Including the installation and the inverter, the price of a solar panel assembly has fallen by nearly 40 percent in ten years. For large solar collectors, the price difference is greater, while it is generously supported by subsidies.


The power grid must be strengthened

In 2020, the International Energy Agency officially classified solar energy as the “cheapest electricity in history”. But to be able to use more solar energy, significant investments will have to be made in the Netherlands’ electricity grid, which is overloaded in some places.

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Over the next 10 years, grid operators will invest tens of billions of euros in upgrading the grid, but they are also demanding energy storage, for example, batteries. This means that the large amount of solar energy generated in the middle of the day can also be used at a later time.