Sustainable energy company Vandebron is introducing fees for customers with solar panels to cover the cost of feeding electricity back into the grid.
The company’s 70,000 solar panel clients face a bill of between a few euros and €46 a month from August, making the company the first Dutch energy firm to introduce such charges.
“Dutch households produced at least 46% more solar power in 2022 than in 2021… but this growth brings challenges with it, such as higher costs,” the company said on its website.
When the weather is good and solar power generation high, the company has to sell the excess supply on the energy market for low prices. The fees will partly compensate for the losses, as well as the grid charges.
Despite the introduction of fees, it will remain financially beneficial to have solar panels, the company says. The size of the fee depends on how much excess electricity the customer produces.
Energy firms have been wrestling with the problem of what to do with the large volume of electricity that solar panels are delivering back into the system but Vandebron is the first to charge its customers a fee.
The government is also considering reducing the current ruling which allows solar panel owners to subtract the amount of energy they supply to the grid from their own usage.
The credit system, the government says, is costing the treasury more than €400 million in lost energy taxes. Instead, it suggests, households should be paid a ‘reasonable sum’ for their surplus supply.
During the sunny spring this year, some Dutch solar households actually earned money by using as much energy as they could because of the shortage of grid capacity to take back excess electricity.
And energy price comparison website Energievergelijk.nl said in June that energy firms have slashed the amount they are “paying” solar panel owners to feed their surplus electricity back into the grid.
Website researchers studied 51 energy contracts and found the credit has dropped from more than 20 cents per kWh at the beginning of the year to an average of just eight. Over two million households in the Netherlands currently have solar panels.
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