The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is now investigating whether energy suppliers are buying surplus solar power from prosumers under the nation's net-metering regime at lower tariffs than what is considered a “reasonable price,” according to Minister for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten.
Jetten made the comments last week in response to a parliamentary inquiry into Consumentenbond, a Dutch non-profit organization that promotes consumer protection. Jetten said a reasonable minimum net-metering fee for surplus solar energy would be at least 80% of the energy price that prosumers pay to buy power from the grid, minus taxes. He added that the introduction of new net-metering rules in the future could help to identify a lower limit for such tariffs, which would in turn bring more certainty to the Dutch residential PV market.
“This is partly the result of increasing negative prices in the market, mostly due to the high solar generation peaks in the middle of the day,” Dutch solar analyst Peter Segaar told pv magazine. “This means that energy providers also have risks and, at the same time, have to keep up a profitable business case in relation to solar power generation from residential customers.”
According to the most recent statistics from the Dutch Central Agency for Statistics (CBS), at the end of 2021 there were around 1.58 million Dutch households that were equipped with rooftop PV systems. And this is why big protests could erupt if a solution to the current tariff uncertainty is not provided soon.
“Now we expect the ACM to do its job, which is monitoring the tariffs,” Segaar said. “So far, however, we haven't seen anything in this regard.”
The country's cumulative installed PV capacity stood at 14.3 GW at the end of 2021, according to the CBS. The Dutch solar market grew by 3.3 GW last year. By comparison, new PV capacity additions hit 2.93 GW in 2020, 2.57 GW in 2019, 1.69 GW in 2018, and 853 MW in 2017.
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