Dutch government invests up to €412 million in solar power in latest funding round

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Vattenfall’s agriPV pilot project in the Netherlands with a capacity of 0.7MWp. Credit: Vattenfall

The Dutch government has announced the latest round of projects to receive funding under its National Growth Fund, which include up to €412 million invested into what it calls “circular solar panels”.

The project, dubbed SolarNL, will look to establish a solar module manufacturing industry in the Netherlands, with an emphasis on circularity and creating sustainable supply chains, by sourcing parts and machinery from Europe. It is a complex joint venture, led by a “steering committee” comprised of Dutch researchers, politicians and investors, who work with academics from the Eindhoven University of Technology.

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The project will build three solar technologies in the Netherlands, silicon heterojunction cells, flexible perovskite foils and “solar PV products” for use in buildings and vehicles.

The National Growth Fund is an ongoing initiative from the Dutch government to invest in projects that “ensure the sustainable earning capacity of the Netherlands,” according to the government. The fund will contribute a minimum of €135 million to the project, plus an additional €177 million should the project meet particular conditions, and one of the stakeholders behind SolarNL can apply for a separate loan from the government of €100 million.

In SolarNL’s own budgeting, it estimated that it would receive €312 million from the fund, enough to cover 35% of its total budget, with the remainder sourced from private investors. Should the project deliver on all of its objectives, the National Growth Fund will cover its entire expenses, so the stakeholders will be eager to ensure that SolarNL lives up to expectations.

The National Growth Fund has committed considerable funds to Dutch infrastructure projects in general, and energy supply initiatives in particular. In this round of funding, the government has invested €4 billion into 18 projects, part of the fund’s plan to invest €20 billion between 2021 and 2025, and the fund backed projects involving the circular development of batteries and a proposal for subsidised charging stations.

Indeed, subsidy funding is a new aspect of this year’s funding round, with projects able to apply for direct government funding for the first time. Two projects applied for direct subsidies, the charging hub project, which asked for €44 million, and a green steel proposal, which asked for €124 million, as the Dutch government looks to invest in energy infrastructure across the industry.

The funding round is the latest commitment to solar power in the Netherlands. The government expects the country’s solar capacity to jump from 18GWp in 2022 to between 100-250GWp by 2050, and stakeholders are looking beyond conventional solar modules to meet these goals.

Last month, figures at offshore classification group DNV announced that the Netherlands was seeking to invest in floating solar power, with an initial 5MW project, which could be followed by a 100MW project.

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