How Amsterdam Will Install One Million Solar Panels

There’s nowhere quite like Amsterdam. Canals weave around sparkling, bustling lanes. Each corner hosts a treasure trove of quirky museums, vintage shops, and crumbling, flaking delicatessens. Taking a stroll along the cobbled streets is like playing the lottery. You never know what you might find: a jeweller boasting hand-crafted stones polished down into glittering rings; a bar tucked away behind a street musician; art galleries showcasing radically new talent; florists featuring mountains of freshly cut tulips, their sweet smells wafting down the canal.

It’s impossible to be bored in this shining, vibrant city.

Carbon-neutral Travel

I travel almost everywhere in the city by bike. Amsterdam takes huge pride in its sustainable ethics regarding transportation. Carbon-neutral travel is intrinsic to their way of life, doing more for their city than simply creating a charming ambiance for tourists. You’d expect, for a city with such an affiliation with nature, that their renewable energy goals would follow suit.

Last year, Amsterdam set an ambitious though wholly achievable goal. Their vision? Within a year, a whopping 1 million solar panels would be installed on roofs across the city. At the time, they’d already accomplished half of their target, starting the year with 500,000 panels. A project this big would bring renewable power to 60,000 homes each year.

The resources were at the city’s disposal. Not only were there plenty of roofs with access to ample sunlight, but the government had also prepared the necessary funding. Lifting the burden of that hefty upfront fee from the shoulders of its citizens.

Amsterdam had set out to prove that by joining hands and working together, the job could get done a whole lot faster. The city put together collective purchasing campaigns, meaning households could team up to purchase solar and share the energy. For those unfortunate enough not to have the right roof, they offered the chance to invest in solar, ensuring everybody the opportunity to become part of the conversation.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork

Just as we witnessed in Germany, the Netherlands understands the power of collective passion. Domestic solar projects are key. Increasing awareness and a comfortable familiarity with solar can lead to astonishing development. And while the Netherlands isn’t top of the leaderboard for sustainable generation, it’s pretty close. The country actually holds the title of most pv solar panels per capita in Europe, generating 825 watts of electricity for each person.

The Netherlands’ achievements are genuinely exceptional, considering how small and tightly populated the country is. Their aim? To keep on growing, adding 3,500 watts to the current capacity. A pretty impressive feat, all things considered. The country’s end goal is to be completely decarbonised by 2050.

The Netherlands has two scenarios in place that help it achieve its goals. Adapt and Transform. These two ventures place specific emphasis on developing renewables and hydrogen.


This set-up is not quite as ruthless as Transform and involves keeping fossil fuels in the mix, using them as raw materials. The Adapt vision looks to the country’s wind and solar capacity, increasing it to 98.5 GW by 2050 and cutting out nuclear entirely.


This scenario shoots for the stars. But, as we’ve learned, ambition serves well. This will require a pretty drastic change in behaviour, with renewables generating almost all of the country’s electricity. Power imports will become essential in meeting consumption and energy-saving techniques will need to be bought to lower demand.

Both scenarios will utilise the sun as much as possible, striving for ‘the largest possible use of sun and wind.’ Both Adapt and Transform hold colossal potential, solar and wind passing 80% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. These bold goals will continue to inspire huge development within the solar industry. It’s the optimism and dedication to an admirable goal. And I’m so pleased with how much of both the Netherlands is pouring into their vision for 2030.

How much could you save?