The prices of solar panels are falling tens of percent, but the number of orders has still fallen by as much as 90 percent. Demand has completely collapsed due to energy companies charging feed-in costs and the cabinet’s phasing out of the netting scheme.
For years the installers were struggling, but now they are forced to lay off their staff. “Over the past two months we have been forced to halve our workforce of sixty people. Where we received more than fifty requests per day last year, we now receive four and we have to work very hard to get them,” says director Guyneau de Zeeuw of installation company Sunleaves in the AD.
‘Government must provide clarity’
“It is the sum that makes people insecure. When will the netting scheme be abolished? What about the return costs? Can the electricity grid cope? People are waiting,” says director Milan van der Meulen of solar power company Soly. “The government must be clear and provide perspective.”
Companies charge about 10 to 25 percent less for an installation compared to last summer. “An average set of solar panels is now about 4,400 euros, which was 6,000 euros around August last year. Whoever bought then was the most expensive.” People sometimes had to wait up to nine months for the panels to be installed. Now any company can complete the task within two weeks.
‘Still pays for itself in seven years’
“People think: they are going to cost me money. While it is actually true that, for example, you no longer have 1,400 but 1,100 euros in benefit per year. If you do the math, you will still earn back the solar panel installation in seven years,” says De Zeeuw. The turning point is now 6 to 11 years at an electricity price of 35 cents per kWh.
There is now an unprecedented price war between solar panel manufacturers. The ‘Big Five’ of the largest solar panel manufacturers in China are doing everything they can to maintain their global market share of 70 percent and continuously ship tankers full of solar panels at dumping prices. It is expected that the load-bearing structure on the roof will also become cheaper.
‘Beunhazen’ pushed out of the market by crisis
Over the past ten years, the number of solar power installers increased from 693 to more than 6,500. “Last year there was still gold to be earned by installing solar panels. These companies sprang up like mushrooms last year and could ask whatever they wanted, but now they see that consumers again have the opportunity to compare on both price and quality,” says Frank Breukelmans of Zonneplan.
“You see a lot of companies collapsing now. Especially the fortune seekers who wanted to profit. Plumbers who thought: I’ll go into solar panels, there’s more money in that,” De Zeeuw explains. “One day they install dormer windows and the next day they install solar power installations, even though they do not have the required technical expertise. It is obvious that such companies will be the first to withdraw from the solar panel market.”Sources): A.D
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