On May 26th, the 8th annual edition of The Solar Future NL will take place in Utrecht. In preparation for this event, we’re diving into the market once again for an extensive analysis of what is going on in terms of trends, projects, developers, technologies, and much more. With this first article we want to provide our readers with an overview of the Dutch utility-scale solar market, and its main findings will be based on a comparison between what currently are and previously were the country’s largest solar projects.


Top 25 Last year's situation Current situation
Total size [MW] 19.83 MW 35.90 MW
Average project size [MW] 0.79 MW 1.44 MW
Leading developers (by number of projects developed in the considered timeframe) Oskomera (5x), Oskomera (3x), SolarAccess (3x),
Solarcentury (3x) Siemens/ Engie /Scheuten Solar (2x)
Leading owners (by number of projects developed in the considered timeframe) Nuon (4x), Eneco (2x) Eneco (3x), Nuon (2x), Engie (2x), Electrabel (2x)
Leading regions 1. Zuid-Holland: 7 projects 1. Zuid-Holland: 9 projects
2. Noord-Holland: 4  projects 2. Brabant: 6 projects
3. Brabant/Gelderland: 3 projects 3. Gelderland: 4 projects
Division project types Field: 3 Field: 6
Roof  23 Roof  19
Floating: 0 Floating: 0

Looking at this table, there are several things to highlight. The first noticeable fact is that the total size of the 25 largest plants, and therefore the average project size as well, has almost doubled compared to last year. In 2015, several large projects have been realized, such as the new number one on the list, a 6 MW PV plant on the island of Ameland.

In terms of specific developers and owners there are no clear parties that seem to dominate the utility-scale solar segment. There are some returning names though, like [now bankrupt] solar installer and developer Oskomera Solar Power Solutions, who were frequently represented in the top 25 both last year and this year. Developer Solarcentury is still developing a substantial amount of projects in the Netherlands, but not really represented that prominently in the top 25 of largest projects, since they’re primarily focusing on smaller scale projects. Project developer SolarAccess, however, is making good progress on interesting projects and is the rising star in this overview. When it comes to project owners, Nuon and Eneco appear to be heavily involved in big solar projects. But on the whole, ownership and development are distributed pretty evenly amongst a large number of parties, with few companies being involved in more than one project.

Fun fact: the current top 25 of PV projects accounts for a total of approximately 200,000 panels.

When we look at the type of projects, we can see that both last year and this year, rooftop projects dominate the top 25. Still, the number of ground-mounted PV plants has in fact increased and its share in the top 25 has grown, causing a slow shift in the division between these two types of projects. Where there was still one co-op project featured in the overview last year (as visible in the file available for download) this category has now disappeared from the top 25. This is mainly due to the fact that while in general project sizes continue to increase, community-based projects tend to keep to a smaller scale. The leading regions in terms of large scale projects are shifting somewhat as well. Though Zuid-Holland keeps its first spot in the top 3 of regions, Brabant and Gelderland have strengthened their positions.


Conclusions

The Dutch PV market continues to be a dynamic market full of new trends and shifting circumstances. There is still a lot of room left for growth - especially due to new opportunities, solutions and technologies - and this is expected to remain the prospect for the upcoming years. For now it will be exciting to see the year 2016 evolve as the year during which the first Dutch multi-megawatt projects will be realized. As always, we’ll be the first to keep you posted!


Request access to the full Top 25 overview, including the information-stacked table and interactive map.


Header Image: Kees van Pelt, 2013

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