Our primary energy generation still relays on fossil fuels. Approximately 80% of the world’s energy supply comes from fossil fuels. However, fossil fuels will soon or later depleted. Therefore, energy generation by non-fossil fuels should be implemented on large scale. Solar energy has a large potential to generate a considerable amount of energy in the world. The potential of solar energy can be seen in figure 1.
Figure 1. Solar energy potential in the world.
Energy generation still also relays primarily on fossil fuels in The Netherlands. In 2014 only 5.5% comes from renewable sources. The government has set a target of 20% renewable energy sources in 2020. In the next coming years we have to increase our renewable sources by 14.5% of our total energy generation. Currently, biomass and wind energy accounts for the majority of renewable energy in the Netherlands. Solar power has relatively a small share in comparison to biomass and wind energy. This can be seen in figure 2.
Figure 2. Shares of renewable energy sources in the Netherlands.
However, in recent years the use of solar power has significantly increased from 88 MW in 2010 to 1405 MW in 2015. Solar power will contribute a significant amount of renewable energy. In order to reach the target of 20% renewable energy sources in 2020, solar energy has to expand in The Netherlands. Solar power has potential to generate energy as can be seen in figure 3.
Figure 3. Solar power potential by annual sun hours.
The potential is not that high as in countries with more sun hours per annum e.g Australia. However, Germany installed an enormous number of solar power systems. In 2015 the installed capacity was 40782 MW.[i] This accounts for approximately 7% of the total energy generation in Germany. The amount of solar energy generation is almost neglectable. Germany has a similar sun energy potential as in the Netherlands; we have a similar climate and sun hours per annum. Therefore, it is likely to implement similar solar systems in the Netherlands as in Germany to increase the share of renewable energy sources.
Solar energy has a small share in renewable energy in the Netherlands. However, let’s zoom further in local municipalities in the Netherlands. The city of Leiden has an ambitious target to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% compared to 1990 in 2030. They also want to increase the use of renewable energy sources. The percentage of renewable energy was 6.1% in 2014 in Leiden according to klimaatmonitor. The share of renewable energy usage is slightly higher than the national average. However, Leiden has less solar polar per inhabitant than the national average. This can be seen in figure 4.
Figure 4. Comparison Leiden-the Netherlands solar power per inhabitant
This suggests the city does not invest enough in solar systems. According to figure 3 Leiden has a higher solar potential than other cities in the Netherlands. Moreover, Lots of roofs are suitable for installing solar panels. In order for Leiden and the Netherlands to reach its targets, solar energy could attribute significantly more to renewable energy sources than our currently capacity of solar energy.