Of the 33 largest solar parks in the Netherlands, 79 percent are now in foreign hands, according to the AD‘s own research. As a result, up to 889 million euros of subsidy money will disappear abroad. Especially German, Chinese, English and Scandinavian project developers and investment funds build solar parks on Dutch land or buy Dutch solar parks.
“ There is an explosive increase in solar parks that almost all come into the hands of foreign investors,” says Jan Rotmans, Professor of Transition and Sustainability at Erasmus University at the AD. “Our subsidies are a dairy cow for these investors. It gives them high returns, which also leak away abroad. They earn a lot of money that is actually meant for the region.”
The number of solar parks in the Netherlands is rapidly increasing. In recent years, dozens of parks have been built and hundreds will be added in the coming years. These include small solar parks of several hectares, as well as large parks with a size of sometimes more than fifty football fields. According to the AD, project developers sometimes offer up to 10,000 euros per hectare to landowners, often farmers. Farmers who rent 25 hectares of land quickly receive about 200,000 euros each year.
Many project developers would opt for the Netherlands because of the billions of euros in subsidies provided by the Dutch government. “It’s a fighting market with a lot of competition,” says Egbert Ludwig in the newspaper. He is director of Sources VanOns, a cooperative developer of wind and solar farms who wants half of the sustainable energy production to be in the hands of the local population. The lucrative subsidies are, according to Ludwig, the only reason for commercial developers to build solar parks. “The government scatters money so wastfully that it has a wonderful business case, with returns of up to 15 percent. As a result, dozens of project developers appear, like bees on the honeypot. Also dubious parties that do not have a good interest in the environment. They have no message to occupant participation. Their only motivation is to earn as much money as possible.”
These foreign owned Dutch solar fields receive a total subsidy of almost 1.1 billion euros. 83 percent of them, some 889 million euros, disappear abroad.
According to the AD, more than half (52 percent) of the 29 largest solar parks that will be built in the coming years are in foreign possession. It is a maximum of €506 million subsidy. It is expected that this percentage will increase, as investment funds usually take over solar parks only after they have been built.