The Netherlands had the highest share of solar power in its electricity mix of any EU country last year, according to the European Electricity Review report by energy think-tank Ember.
The Netherlands has seen a huge increase of solar power in its electricity mix, moving from 1% in 2015 to 14% in 2022.
Overall, solar produced 7.3% of the EU’s power in 2022. Germany was the biggest generator while the Netherlands boasted the highest percentage in its electricity mix, one percentage point ahead of Greece and Hungary and two percentage points ahead of Spain.
“The Netherlands was the unquestionable solar energy leader of 2022, generating 14% of its electricity from the sun and surpassing previous leader Spain, typically a much sunnier country, by two percentage points (12%),” the report reads.
Last year, energy grid operators saw historic growth in the number of solar panels on residential roofs in 2022 across the Netherlands. The country added 1.8 gigawatts (GW) of rooftop solar capacity, 38% more than in 2021.
Alongside this, a million consumers are now taking part in energy cooperatives, further boosting power production from the sun.
“Solar is stepping up right when Europe needs it most. These new numbers show that rapid solar growth is truly the foundation of the energy transition,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of industry body SolarPower Europe.
“In 2023, with the right support, solar will break more records, reduce fossil energy demand further, and take us one year closer to a 100% renewable Europe,” she added.
According to the report, the rapid expansion of rooftop solar was possible thanks to the Netherlands supporting residential projects with net metering.
Meanwhile, commercial and utility-scale solar are subsidised through a tendering scheme, with 2.3 GW of these projects applying for financing in 2022 alone.
Alongside this, the Netherlands announced an offshore wind expansion to help the country reach its target of having a 100% clean power system by 2030 in response to the energy crisis.
The Dutch efforts to boost wind and solar have already helped reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuels as coal’s share in Dutch power generation dropped from 36% in 2015 to 13% in 2022.
“For the first time, solar generation in both the Netherlands and Greece surpassed that of coal generation,” according to the report.
The increase in renewable energy production from wind and solar projects also helped displace gas, which saw a 17% drop.
(Kira Taylor & Sofia Stuart Leeson | EURACTIV.com)