Solar PV experts from The Netherlands share one common goal, regardless of where they are specifically involved within the Dutch PV market. As Dennis Gieselaar, Co-Founder of Oskomera, so poignantly states, “The market needs to be educated further. My general drive is to see how we can mobilize the market more towards professionalism and have a greater drive for quality.” He notes that we cannot be willing to just accept low prices above all else, and then expect to see what quality remains. As an expert panelist at Solarplaza’s The Solar Future NL on May 27, 2015 in Rotterdam (www.thesolarfuture.nl), Dennis will discuss in depth the following trending and growing issue of high quality versus low quality solar installations from the perspective of a market leader, and his vision for the future Dutch PV market.
Begins Mr. Gieselaar, “When I started in solar, my first goal was to significantly contribute to the rollout of PV technology in the Netherlands. Solar PV has become an almost grown up industry and Oskomera has made a significant contribution to that. The main objective right now, however, is to add value to the market, and make sure that we are getting the most out of solar installations. The public needs to understand what a durable and high yield solar system is, and how you decipher which systems are better than others to make the most of this advanced technology.”
A durable, high yield performance has not only to do with the type of module, but how the various components have been interconnected, and the quality of craftsmanship during installation. Emphasizes Mr. Gieselaar, “How solar panels are installed, the connectors are joined with the cables, the fuse with the inverter, basically all of the so-called ‘nitty-gritty’ parts of the solar installation process, this is what ultimately determines the longevity and durability of solar systems. We have installed over 250 large scale solar systems, many of which we still operate from a technical side. This provides us with the ability to see on a daily basis where things can go wrong, and this knowledge has shown that the problems almost always arise due to haphazard installations. This has a very high influence on performance and longevity.”
Moving forward, Mr. Gieselaar expects to see significant stabilization of the Dutch residential PV market. “I predict a shift from dedicated solar installers moving back towards only having a small amount of solar in the total turnover. I think the installer market has learned the opportunities and threats of becoming very dependent on the solar industry itself. Particularly with reference to cash flow and stock issues, volatility of the market makes PV attractive but risky for general installers to become totally dependent on the solar industry.”
The market will ultimately have less dedicated solar-only installers, and the distribution segment of the market will become much more focused on standard or traditional installers. This will remove the difficult logistical aspect, the warehousing, and the cash of having the product on hand and in stock because a general installer is not used to having any stock on his balance sheet.
“In our 15 years of experience working in this area in other markets, such as the United Kingdom, we believe the installation segment of the solar market can be greatly improved for the overall betterment of solar PV.” Concludes Mr. Gieselaar, “The financial return of a solar installation all comes down to the kWh it produces against the euros spent, and if we can drastically improve the knowledge of customers regarding quality of installation, the benefit is shared among all parties involved.”
“We want to help the positional installer with his cash issues and support. We want to enable installers to sell not only on price or technology, but on other added values and assist them with general marketing schemes, which is an area that is lacking in the present market.” However, the major market developments for the coming years will have to do with the large scale rooftop market, which is being driven by the SDE+ scheme. “More than 60% (though less than 75%) or all SDE+ winners will realize their projects,” states Gieselaar. The most common reason for companies not realizing their projects is because of low return on investment, but the majority should not have this problem.”
To learn more about how to maximize the return of your PV investment, and how to spot companies offering quality solar installations, Mr. Gieselaar will join Solarplaza as a panelist for The Solar Future NL on May 27, 2015 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where industry leading companies will gather with key local and international market professionals to network and discuss the future for Dutch solar PV.