February 24, 2021

A green future without solar farms?



In recent months, solar farms have been built at a rapid pace in various locations in the Netherlands. The parks often consist of a large number of solar panels on farmland. Although the solar farms are a source of significant amounts of green energy, there is still a lot of criticism of this way of generating energy. Will we then see a green future without the much-discussed solar farms?

The criticism of solar farms

An article by the NIS makes it clear that not only citizens who live near a solar farm are highly critical of this, but that critical questions are also asked by experts. Wouter Veldhuis, National Advisor for the physical living environment, indicates that 60 solar farms have been added in the past year. Another 400 are planned for the coming years. In total, this covers an area of more than 28 square kilometers. By way of illustration, this area is equal to the size of the city of Leiden.  

Green subsidies abroad

Veldhuis believes that the subsidies on these large-scale projects should be stopped in order to prevent more plots of land from being filled with solar farms in the coming years. The subsidies should again be used for solar panels on roofs of homes and businesses.

Professor of Energy Transition Jan Rotmans also agrees. He points out that one of the problems lies in the high subsidies at solar farms. This makes it attractive for farmers to exchange their agricultural land for hectares with solar panels. For one hectare of land with solar panels, a farmer quickly receives € 5,000 per year. This amount is considerably higher than they would usually earn from agriculture.

Empty Dutch roofs

The result of the high subsidies is clearly visible: the Dutch home and company roofs are hardly covered with solar panels. In addition, the subsidies are rarely used for the installation of solar panels on roofs, but mainly for investments in solar farms. This leads to a situation in which foreign investors make money from the solar farms and benefit from the Dutch subsidies. For example, research by the AD showed that of the 33 largest solar farms in the Netherlands, 79% are foreign-owned. As a result, some 889 million euros of subsidy money will disappear abroad.

Alternative green solutions

Fortunately, there is also positive news. The Netherlands has about 2.5 billion square meters of hard surface area. By using this area, agricultural land no longer needs to be used. In addition, more and more alternatives are coming on the market to replace the solar fields. One of the best alternatives is perhaps the carport with solar panels. The main advantage of this is that existing areas can be used in different ways. This way you can not only park and charge your car, but at the same time green power is generated in the same place. Want to know more about this green charging station from AmperaPark? Take a look at the possibilities for your organization!

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