October 2011 update

The government and Holland Solar signed an agreement for jointly investing in the introduction of installation certificates for solar energy systems, simplification of the connection to the electricity grid for citizens, and the simplification of authorisation processes and permits. Thanks to these adjustments it will be easier to invest in solar energy as a citizen or as a company. The quality certification and assurance program provides a response to a European duty from the Renewable Energy Directive. Europe states that there must be a certification system for sustainable energy, geared towards the quality of the installation.  Europe is not alone in calling for this: both members of Holland Solar as well as her clients ask for clear quality guarantees in the market.  Holland Solar will head the programme, in cooperation with AgentschapNL and Uneto-VNI. Buyers of a solar energy system provided with this certificate will know that the installation is of good quality. This will secure the confidence in solar energy.

The procedures for the implementation of solar energy by citizens and businesses will be simplified. Especially private customers find the procedures for delivering solar power to the grid unclear. Holland Solar will work with the grid operators on making information more accessible, and the process of offsetting generated energy against own energy consumption. Also part of the Green Deal between the Minister and Holland Solar is removing of bottlenecks in the authorisation procedure applicable to the realisation of solar energy systems on listed buildings and for city areas with a protected view. Today’s procedure often causes unclarities for the applicants on a municipal level. The state government will work on a uniform directive for municipalities. Solving these bottlenecks will result in a better development of the market.

April 2010 update

In the past, the support schemes for both small residential systems and for larger commercial systems opened every year at the same date. This resulted in huge numbers of applications being sent in within a period of a week to the administration, which caused unnecessary delays for processing the applications (as all approvals are issued at the same time, after all applications are processed). In the past, this delay has been as long as 25 weeks. In 2010, the support scheme will have two different openings, one for the small residential systems and one for the larger commercial systems. In between there is a period of 2 months. This should lead to a reduced work load for the administration, and therefore a shorter processing time.

So far the technical requirements for grid connection have slightly differed between the grid operators. PV investors assumed that there was no difference and often noticed during the grid acceptance test that their system didn’t meet the specifications of the regional grid operator. This caused extra cost for modifications of the technical installation, and delays in getting the PV system connected to the grid. This issue was identified and discussed by the national association with the grid operators. At the moment, this problem is being resolved, and technical specification for grid connection will be the same for all regions (i.e. all grid operators).

A major concern amongst developers of PV systems is the lack of a certification program in the Netherlands. This concern has been raised directly by Holland Solar and through the work done on PV LEGAL, and has recently resulted in the start of a national quality assurance program for PV systems and installers. The government has instituted a project team consisting of its division for renewable energy, the building standardization association, the association of installers, and the national association for the solar energy industry. The project team is to develop a recommendation for defining a certification program for PV installers and installations over the next years, also in line with the requirements of the RES directive. Several project meetings and seminars, also involving representatives from the industry and from professional users, have already taken place, which has led to a first report with recommendations.