Make your company more sustainable with solar energy

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO | Statistics Netherlands, CBS

Do you want to use sustainable energy in your business? You can consider solar panels or a solar boiler. You can reduce your costs for electricity and hot water significantly. This way you can recoup your investment and improve the energy label of your property. In 2023, most office buildings should have energy label C or better.

Solar panels or solar boilers

If you want to use solar energy, you can choose to install solar panels, solar boilers, or a combination of the two.

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Check with your grid operator

You can return the energy you generate through solar panel to the electricity grid. The grid must have enough capacity to receive this electricity, and this is not always the case. Check with your grid operator what your options are. You can find out which network operator is responsible for your grid in the EAN codebook (in Dutch).

Subsidies for solar panels and solar boilers

If you want to buy or use solar panels or solar boilers, you can make use of a number of subsidies. You can also benefit from tax advantages:

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Interested in several subsidies?

Do you want to apply for more than 1 subsidy scheme? You should check carefully is this is an option. In general, you cannot combine the ISDE, SDE++, SCE, and EIA, for instance. These schemes can be combined with KIA, or with a provincial or municipal subsidy.

Use, return, or store solar electricity?

You can use the energy you generate from your solar panels yourself. But you can also supply the energy back to the grid, store it, or a combination of these.

Supplying electricity back to the grid

You can supply the electricity you generate back to your energy supplier. You need to report this to your grid operator through the website energieleveren.nl (in Dutch). The grid must have enough capacity to absorb the electricity. Your electricity meter must also be suitable. Ask you grid administrator about this. You can find your grid operator in the EAN codebook (in Dutch).

Do you have a small consumer connection of maximum 3 x 80A (ampere)? Your grid administrator will offset the electricity you return to the grid against the electricity you use. This is called netting, or salderen in Dutch. If you return more electricity than you use, you will be reimbursed by your supplier. This netting arrangement (salderingsregeling) will be phased out from 2023.

For further explanation of netting and supplying energy back to the grid you can consult the information (in Dutch) on the website of the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).

Storing solar energy in a battery system

You can also choose to store (part of) the energy in one or more batteries. Especially when the netting arrangement is being phased out, this can be a beneficial solution. It is also a good option for those regions where you cannot supply energy back to the grid, for instance because the grid is overloaded. You can store energy in batteries only for a limited period. You will still need an electricity connection for winter periods. Note that storing the energy can also impact the amount of your SDE or SCE subsidy.

Paying and reclaiming VAT for solar panels

If you purchased solar panels, you must pay VAT (btw) on the electricity you supply to your energy supply company. You can also apply for a refund of the VAT you paid on the costs of the purchase and installation. This is also the case if you (as a self-employed person without employees, zzp’er) put the solar panels on your home.

How you should reclaim VAT, depends on factors such as your company’s business structure (for instance a sole proprietorship or private limited company, bv).

Read more on how to reclaim VAT for your solar panels.

Tips for reclaiming VAT

  • Make sure your company name is on your energy bill and on the invoice for the solar panels. You cannot get a VAT refund on your company’s name if it is missing on either of these.
  • Are you self-employed (zzp’er) and did you buy solar panels for your home? And do you live together with someone who is not an entrepreneur and does not have the ambition to become an entrepreneur? It might be easier to have that person reclaim the VAT as a private individual (in Dutch).

Notable issues if you buy solar panels or solar boilers

Do you want to purchase solar panels or solar boilers for your company? You should take into account some concerns:

  • Do you want to install solar panels on a roof? Make sure the roof is suitable. The supplier of the solar panels can help you. For some subsidy schemes, for instance the SDE++, a feasibility study is required.
  • In some cases, you need an all-in-one permit for physical aspects (omgevingsvergunning). For instance, if you want to install them in a field or on a building that is yet to be built. You can find out if this is the case through the Dutch-language 'Service counter all-in-one permit for physical aspects' (Omgevingsloket Online, OLO). Additionally, you should ask your municipality if you need any other permits.
  • If you install solar panels or solar (heat) collectors on your company building, this may affect the insurance for this building. Ask your insurance company about the possible consequences.

Facts and figures: Number of solar panel installations at business locations

An installations is the registration of solar panels at a certain location in a certain year. The number of registrations of installations by companies has increased in recent years.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Statistics Netherlands, CBS