Solar Power on the Rise in the Netherlands

Solar Power on the Rise in the Netherlandsarticle picture
Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 Solar Energy is moving in on the Netherlands. Not only has the number of new PV panels on residential rooftops reached a record in 2018, but the number of utility scale solar parks is also growing rapidly. As can be seen in the graph, the installed capacity at the end of 2018 will be approaching 4.5 GW and the rate of new projects is increasing.

A driver for this is that the Netherlands has committed to supplying 14% of its energy mix from renewables by 2020. Thanks to the Dutch Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production (SDE+) subsidy scheme, 2017 and 2018 saw a large amount of applications for this government incentive that makes larger PV projects an attractive investment.


The market is rapidly growing in terms of both the number of projects and their size. In SolarPlaza’s latest compilation of the top 25 projects, including those currently in the final stages of construction, the average capacity is now 7 MW per project, which is a significant increase compared to previous years.

In 2016 the largest operating solar park was the 6 MW project on the island of Ameland, in early 2017 Sunport Delfzijl near Groningen went live with 30MW generating capacity and in November 2018 Solarpark Scaldia started producing up to 54.5 MWp for the port of Vlissingen.


Zonnepark Apeldoorn

One of the solar parks that became operational in 2018 is ‘Zonnepark Apeldoorn’. This 3.8 MWp capacity plant is located in the centre of the Netherlands and was financed partially by Rabobank and partially by crowdfunding.

The plant uses 11,088 PV panels to provide electricity to the grid for the local inhabitants of Apeldoorn and is constructed beneath the 150 kV high tension power lines of Tennet, the national grid operator in the Netherlands. The 4.6 acres of land does not only house the solar park, it is also home to sheep that are green-keeping the site.


Solar Monitoring

Zonnepark Apeldoorn was developed by Encon Ingenieursbureau and Over Morgen. Encon is a technical engineering and consulting firm helping large companies to save energy with their utilities and their industrial processes. Encon is also helping these companies to generate their own sustainable energy with wind and solar power.

Encon is always working with an integrated project approach; from technical and economic feasibility studies, through design, specification and tendering for contractors. The project team manages the complete process, up to and including final acceptance of the installation. Making sure that the specification is correctly implemented by the contractor, that the operations and maintenance are well executed by the appointed company and that the initial business case (either energy savings or energy generation) is being realized.

Encon has been working for 10 years in commercial and utility solar energy installations on roofs, on land and floating on inland waters.  For these installations they require highly reliable and very accurate irradiance data from pyranometers to monitor the panel efficiency and calculate the plant Performance Ratio (PR). Encon specifies the monitoring equipment to be installed by the contractors works solely with Kipp & Zonen pyranometers, being very satisfied with their performance and accuracy. 

Now that Zonnepark Apeldoorn is fully operational Encon is working with the operations and maintenance company towards final acceptance a year after completion the plant installation. The accurate pyranometers of Kipp & Zonen are essential to determining that the contracted Performance Ratio agreed by the operations and maintenance company is being achieved.

Coming Projects

Encon is now working on several new ground based PV projects ranging between 10 MWp and 45 MWp. They are also involved with commercial-scale rooftop installations, either a single large roof or a combination of multiple roofs, with a total capacity of 50 MWp. A feasibility study is under way for solar power on 20 inland water sites with a total surface area of 80 hectares.

The PV market in the Netherlands will continue to grow due to decreasing PV system prices and the ambitious climate targets of the Dutch Government.

Watch the Video

Together with Encon, Kipp & Zonen was featured on the Dutch television show ‘How it’s Done’ to demonstrate the importance of measuring solar irradiance and the soiling of PV panels. We would like to thank Ad Verbaas, General Manager of Encon, for his support to record this video.



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