Status of Solar Heating/Cooling and Solar Buildings - 2012

Status of the Market for Solar Thermal Systems

Market Size and Trends

The market in the Netherlands has been slowly growing since a new subsidy scheme was introduced at the end of 2008. In 2011 the subsidy was ended. The subsidy stimulated the use of larger systems (larger than 6m2) as can be seen in the graph. The market in newly build houses has decreased as only few new houses are build. The market for non-glazed collectors is stable at around 30.000 m2 per year. The main application is domestic hot water. Vacuum tube collectors are only a minor fraction of the market (about 10%). For 2011 the market will be around 30.000 m2 for glazed collectors.

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.

Main Market Drivers

The main market drivers are 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 and the market penetration for new buildings is around 10%. 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.


There is a domestic manufacturing base, but it has decreased the last years. After the subsidy stop in 2003 many manufacturers have 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 €2500,- 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

The quality of the installation work is a big issue. The trade association has made a green deal with the government to work on the improvement of the installation quality. This will be combined with the requirements from the EU in the renewable energy directive.

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 day lighting are included in the rating system. There is no separate focus on solar buildings.

Market Size and Trends

The market for new houses has decreased from 80.000 per year to 59.000 in 2011. It is expected that the market for new houses will take some years to recover. For commercial buildings the trend is similar.

Main Market Drivers

The main drivers for low energy buildings are the local policies of cities who want to reach their climate targets and already want to reach in the coming years the goals that the government has set for 2020 (namely all new buildings being energy neutral).


There is no separate information on solar buildings.


A house that has a rating 30% better that the current energy performance requirement costs on average €6000,- more to build.

Other Key Topics


R&D Activities

R&D Programmes

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

The research work for heat storage is funded through basis research funding and projects in the EOS program.

For energy neutral buildings there is the separate program “Energiesprong” managed by the organisation SEV.

R&D Infrastructure

R&D Institutions
Institution Type of Institution Relevant Research Areas IEA SHC Involvement Website
SEV Public Low Energy Buildings Not yet
ECN Public Buildings, Heat Storage, PV Task 37, 42
TNO Research Institute Buildings Task 37
Kiwa Private Institute Solar Thermal Testing -

Actual Innovations

The Netherlands have 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 goals for the Netherlands are stated in the Plan. The goal is very modest set at 1 PJ (0,02 Mtoe).

Government Agencies Responsible for Solar Thermal, for Solar Building Activities

The main agency is NL Agency (formally 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 building the main incentive is the building regulation and local climate policies.

For quality control the solar keymark is well accepted and the Dutch equivalent (Zonnekeur). For the quality of the installation work a system will be set-up as part of the requirements of the renewable energy directive from the EU.

Information Resources

National Solar Associations (industry and non-industry)

Trade association:

Most Important Media for Solar Thermal and Solar Buildings

Consumer information:

Other information: