The House of Representatives is currently debating the phasing out of the net metering scheme, under which solar panel holders received money for solar power generated. It was intended as an incentive, and it worked: one in five households put it on their roofs, making the Netherlands the European leader.
According to politicians, regulations are becoming increasingly unfair, solar panels are still profitable without regulation, and they are slowing the development of home batteries. They can be used to mitigate power grid flooding.
So the netting has had its day, say not only the coalition, but also the solar panel sector club Holland Solar, Netbeheer Nederland and the Consumers and Markets Authority (ACM).
“Solar panels are going crazy, thanks to the net metering of the many individuals involved in the energy transition,” says Wijnand van Hooff, managing director of Holland Solar. .”
As a result, energy suppliers incur additional costs, which they pass on to all their customers. According to the ACM, families pay without Solar panels at current electricity prices, so a few dozen extra per month.
As the group with solar panels grows, an ever smaller group of people pay for a growing group. This is the unfair side of the scheme.
There is another reason to cancel it: solar panels will pay for themselves with higher energy prices. “Before the Ukraine war, the payback period was seven years, now it is sometimes only two years,” says Hans-Peter Oscam of Netbeheer Nederland. “Even without netting, it remains very profitable.”
The plan is as follows. From 2025, the amount written off will gradually decrease. It will be phased out in 2031. In this case, you will continue to receive a fee for electricity supplied, based on the actual price of electricity.
There is a third reason something needs to change: the network is overflowing. On average, the family returns two-thirds. Because the sun usually rises in the same places, it occurs at the same times.
Oskam: “There are indeed times in the summer when the whole of the Netherlands can be supplied with solar energy.”
This is why, according to Netbeheer Nederland, we should use electricity when the sun is shining, but coordination can be difficult and is not currently encouraged.
Hence, the household battery market is growing steadily, particularly in Germany. The Netherlands is noticeably behind. why? Van Hove: “Because of net metering, there’s no incentive to take one. It’s cheaper to supply electricity to the grid than to store it in a home battery.”
Milieu Centraal is less enthusiastic. Puk van Meegeren: “You’re investing environmentally harmful raw materials and energy in a home battery and only storing a little bit of solar energy. We think that’s lopsided. Energy storage is useful, but on a larger scale via an adjacent battery, for example.”
Household batteries are useful for daytime use, but not for seasonal storage, says Milieu Centraal, and we also need the latter.
“But the network is now being used as a big free battery, and the network is full,” Oscam says. But just like Milieu Centraal, it also calls for a future in which generation and consumption are harmonized. “The home battery is not the solution, it is one of the solutions.”
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