Request for information on sustainable photovoltaics
Worldwide, the amount of photovoltaics (PV) installations has grown exponentially. In the Netherlands the installations of PV has grown quickly in the past few years due to the government's high ambitions and generous subsidies. The Netherlands is a small country, but it still holds the worldwide number 2 position in PV capacity per capita and Australia takes the first place. (november 2023)
In the Netherlands, over the last 4 years, the average installation rate increased to 4 GWP per year. Due to the high ambitions of the Dutch government, which involves the utilization of a high percentage of solar power in a carbon neutral electricity mix by 2035, the PV installation rate is expected to remain high for many years to come.
The role of Governmental Organisations in PV projects
Governmental ('public') organisations influence a large part of all PV projects:
- Directly, when tendering or commissioning PV projects for public buildings.
- Indirectly, when allowing commercial organisations to install PV systems within land managed by public organisations (State Forest Service; Dutch Water Authorities; Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management; the royal army, and so on).
- Indirectly, through requirements in permits for PV projects on private properties (e.g., cities).
Public Buyer Groups to stimulate Green Public Procurement
The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management established several 'public Buyer Groups' with the core objective to encourage the procurement of sustainable products via the public domain. Increased demand for sustainable products among public organisations should increase awareness and production volumes, and should, in time, reduce the price premium.
While public organisations are the initial target audience of the Buyer Group, already several private organisations have indicated their interest to procure more sustainable PV modules.
The initiative is coordinated by PIANOo (The Dutch ’Public Procurement Expertise Centre) and led by RVO (The Netherlands Enterprise Agency). Both PIANOo and RVO are part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy.
Dutch Public Buyer Group for Sustainable PV (DPBG-SPV)
The Buyer Group DPBG-SPV was founded in 2021 and is managed by a small but highly experienced team.
The DPBG-SPV does NOT conduct or facilitate collective-purchasing projects.
The core objective of the DPBG-SPV: Stimulate procurement of PV modules that are more sustainable and better for society.
Primary activities of the DPBG-SPV include:
- collecting scientific information on sustainability issues in PV;
- preparing clear summaries for these sustainability issues;
- creating awareness about these sustainability issues;
- conducting market research to create an overview of the sustainability improvements that are available on the market today, including price premium;
- creating transparency on the level of sustainability for different PV modules;
- creating a procurement template, which can be used for both public and private projects, that includes minimum requirements and bonus points for the more sustainable PV modules;
- creating documents to support and guide buyers;
- knowledge dissemination in the Netherlands;
- sharing information with a similar initiative from the European Union.
Please note that the procurement template and support documents (guides) will be available for download from this website in Q1 2024.
During the past 2 years the following Dutch organisations provided the Buyer Group DPBG-SPV with valuable inputs based on their own experiences with PV projects:
- Dutch Water Authorities (Waterschappen)
- Central Governmental Real Estate Agency (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf)
- Rail Infrastructure Organisation (ProRail)
- State Forest Service (Staatsbosbeheer)
- Electricity Utilities (Eneco, HVC)
- City governance (Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Groningen)
In addition, HollandSolar and many other expert organisations provided the Buyer Group with valuable inputs.
Many people perceive PV modules as a commodity with price and efficiency as the main differentiators. Also, as PV modules generate power without emissions, modules are perceived as inherently ‘green’ and good.
However there are large differences in aspects that are important for society, including:
- Carbon footprint
- Technical product lifespan
- Presence of toxic materials
- Impact of PV projects on ecology and biodiversity
- Labour conditions
- Use of scarce materials
Many people, even in the PV industry, are unaware of the issues and the differences between PV modules.
Request for information
In 2022, we conducted the first Request For Information (RFI) on Sustainable PV modules. We were happy that 25 PV module producers responded and were included in our overviews.
From December 1st 2023, the Buyer Group will initiate the second RFI on sustainable PV modules. This RFI will be sent to the producers of PV modules that are most relevant for the Netherlands.
The Buyer Group will publish listings of the best (at least the top 10) PV modules for the top three sustainability aspects: carbon Footprint, toxic materials and technical lifetime.
If you are a PV module producer, the Buyer Group is looking forward to your participation!
For further information, please contact us via email: @email
Michiel Mensink (Chief Solar Expert)
Bart-Jeroen Bierens (Program Manager)