Government plans to change the rules for domestic solar panels come up for debate later on Tuesday amid concerns that the new system will make it less attractive for private households to install them.
Some 1.8 million households have rooftop solar panels and around 25% generate more electricity than they use in a year. At the moment, households with solar panels can deduct the cost of the electricity they supply back to the grid during sunny spells from their electricity bills.
But that, the government says, is costing the treasury more than €400 million in lost energy taxes, a figure which increases as more households start their own rooftop solar energy farms.
At the same time, the national grid is struggling to cope with the surge in domestic solar power, particularly in older neighbourhoods where the networks need strengthening. Instead, grid operators want households to use as much of their own electricity as possible.
The government argues that by reducing the amount of energy solar panel owners can offset against their own usage, they can be encouraged to use more of their own power and invest in a domestic battery storage system.
In addition, households will be paid a ‘reasonable’ amount for the energy they do supply to the grid, climate minister Rob Jetten said.
Both the Dutch consumer and markets authority ACM and the consumer association Consumentenbond have said they do not object to the government’s plans, as long as consumers are paid properly for the electricity they generate.
The Consumentenbond also wants guarantees that households can earn back their investment in seven years.
If MPs agree, the credit system will be phased out between 2025 and 2031, starting with a 35% drop in the amount credited in two years time.
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