Senate unlikely to back minister’s solar panel payment phase-out


Plans by climate minister Rob Jetten to stop home owners with solar panels deducting the power they feed back into the grid from their energy bills are likely to stall in the upper house of parliament.

Senators are due to debate the plan on Tuesday but a majority across the political spectrum want to keep the current system, broadcaster NOS reported. According to news website, the position of GroenLinks-PvdA senators will be crucial during Tuesday’s discussion. The outgoing government does not control a majority of senate seats.

Senators and consumer groups want the current system to continue, and argue that phasing it out will discourage people from placing panels on their roofs because it will take longer to earn back their investment.

“I am going to vote against out of principle unless the problem is solved,” GroenLinks-PvdA senator Ferd Crone told “People need to be certain that it is worth continuing to invest in them.”

A third of Dutch 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, Jetten said.

Senators will vote on the plan next week.

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