Status of Solar Heating/Cooling and Solar Buildings - 2015

Status of the Market for Solar Thermal Systems

Market Size and Trends

The market in the Netherlands for solar water heaters has been stable, but small, since the subsidy scheme ended in 2011. The main market is domestic hot water systems. Systems for space heating are in general too large for the small houses in the Netherlands, but the interest for these systems is growing. The market was focused on new houses, but as there is less housing development, the focus has shifted to existing houses.

Typical Applications and Products

The main application is domestic hot water. The systems are mainly pumped systems with still a lot of drain back systems, but the number of pumped systems with glycol is increasing due to imports from other countries. The systems are in general about 3 m2 with a 100 l tank. Larger systems are seen for agricultural use, for example in dairy farms for cleaning. Another development is the solar thermal roof. This is an uncovered collector that is integrated in the roof of a building. The application is the regeneration of aquifer thermal storages of borehole storages. Recently many of these systems are combined with PV in PV-thermal systems.

Main Market Drivers

The main market drivers is the building regulation for new buildings. The regulation requires a certain performance level and solar water heaters help to reach the requirement. There is a lot of competition from other technologies like PV. For existing buildings there is an energy label, but there are no demands to the required performance. Most installers are still not very active in selling solar water heaters. Hot water is mostly produced with efficient gas boilers and gas is cheap. It is therefore difficult for solar water heaters to be cost competitive. The main sales in existing buildings is with owners who specifically chose a solar water heater for environmental reasons.

Large systems (> 100 m2) can benefit from a feed-in tariff from the SDE+ scheme, but this has little effect up to now.


There is a domestic manufacturing base, but it has decreased in the last years. After the subsidy stopped in 2011 many manufacturers decreased their production. The growth now comes mainly from newcomers who import systems from Europe or China.


Estimates from the trade association Holland Solar come to 300 to 500 jobs (full time equivalent) in the Netherlands for the solar thermal industry, including installation and related service (testing etc.)


A solar water heating system costs around €2,500 for a 3 m2 system installed (including VAT). Prices vary a lot depending on the project size system type and ease of installation.

Other Key Topics

There is a quality certificate for installers (zonnekeur). This is developed both for solar thermal and PV installers.

Status of the Market for Solar Buildings


The focus in the Netherlands is on low-energy buildings and energy neutral buildings. Active and passive solar technologies and daylighting are included in the rating system. There is no separate focus on solar buildings. For new buildings the aim is that all new buildings should be near-zero in 2020. For existing buildings there is a big project called Transition Zero, which aims at high level renovations to come to net zero in existing houses.

Market Size and Trends

The interest in space heating with solar is growing. Also combinations of solar heating and heat pumps are growing, but there are still a lot of different configurations in use. Daylighting and daylight control popular. Most modern enery efficient offices have daylighting control. There is an active community simulating the use of daylight: .

Main Market Drivers

The main drivers for low energy buildings is the aim to make new building near zero energy buildings by 2020. Many players are already deloping concepts for these types of buildings.


There is no separate information on solar buildings.

R&D Activities

R&D Programmes

There is no national R&D program for solar thermal energy. The program for renewable energy at does include a few activities for solar thermal energy.

The research work for heat storage is funded through projects in the topsector energy. Also work on integrated energy solutions and smart buildings can get funding.

R&D Infrastructure

R&D Institutions
Institution Type of Institution Relevant Research Areas IEA SHC Involvement Website
ECN Research institute Renewable energy Task 42
TNO Research institute Energy, buildings, chemistry task 42
Solar Energy Applications Centre (SEAC) Research institute Roof integration and PVT
Technical University of Eindhoven University compact storage Task 42

Actual Innovations

The Netherlands has developed the drain-back technology for solar water heaters. In the heat storage technology the focus is now on chemical storage technology.

Support Framework


The goal for renewable energy is set at 14% in 2020 with the EU and there is a national energy agreement that aims at 16% renewable energy in 2023, see . There are no official goals for solar heating. The trade organisation, Holland Solar,  has made a plan to accelerate the market.

Government Agencies Responsible for Solar Thermal, for Solar Building Activities

The main agency is the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (formally named AgentschapNL and SenterNovem).

Most Important Public Support Measure(s) for Solar Thermal and for Solar Buildings

The subsidy scheme for solar water heaters was ended in February 2011. Commercial businesses can still benefit from the tax-reduction for energy investments (EIA), which comes to about 15% of the investment costs.

A new support scheme is the SDE+. This is a feed-inn tariff that has been expanded to include large (>100 m2) solar heating systems. The feed-inn tariff works with a tender system. The tariff is between €0 and €20 per Gj produced useful heat.

For solar buildings the main incentive is the building regulation and local climate policies.

Information Resources

National Solar Associations (industry and non-industry)

Trade association:

The government agency:


Most Important Media for Solar Thermal and Solar Buildings

Consumer information:

Other information: