Budget Energie to charge solar panels owners a fee for grid use

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Budget Energie has become the second Dutch energy firm to charge customers who feed electricity produced by their solar panels back into the grid. The company has some 800,000 customers in the Netherlands.

However, the company is also offering solar panel users free energy at the weekends in spring and summer, when production levels are high but households use little electricity, in an effort to encourage them to use more at off peak times.

Customers will pay between €3 and €90 a month to deliver excess electricity into the grid, depending on how much they produce, but the company expects the average payment to be around €20. 

Last August Vandebron also introduced charges, saying it needed to cover the cost. Other energy firms are considering similar moves.

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.

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 generation.

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 last 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.

Over two million households in the Netherlands currently have solar panels.

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