Owner of solar panels up to 270 euros per year more expensive

Published: Oct. 20 at 1:30 p.m.

Those who have solar panels and sign a new energy contract are up to 270 euros more expensive per year. Almost all energy companies charge additional costs because of net-metering.

This is evident from research by comparison site Keuze.nl into the tariffs for households with and without solar panels. The difference arises mainly from the non-allocation of so-called cash-backs, an amount paid by the energy company at the end of the contract.

Energy company Vandebron received widespread criticism in August when it became the first announced to seek a fee to customers who feed back a lot of energy. This is necessary, the company claims, to help pay for the balancing scheme. This scheme allows consumers to buy the energy they generate and supply in the summer for free in the dark months; yield and consumption are offset against each other. This costs energy companies a lot of money because energy is much more expensive in the winter, which is also paid for by people without solar panels.

Vandebron was honest about the additional costs. Other companies also recently increased charges for solar panel owners without publicizing it. Or they hide the extra costs in the offer. Some companies no longer want customers with solar panels at all and do not make an offer through the comparators.

The most common method used to charge solar panel owners extra is to offer no cashback, which can save 120 to as much as 270 euros a year. Geert Wirken of Keuze.nl: ,,Those differences are based on current rates. Last week the cashbacks were higher and the difference with or without solar panels even bigger.'' Of the fifteen energy companies surveyed, eleven charge extra for those who feed solar power back, even though the supply of that solar power is minimal.


Those who have solar panels can still sign contracts with only a few energy companies for more than one year. Energy suppliers are uncertain about the net-metering scheme. Will it be phased out from 2025 now that the government has fallen? And how high will the mandatory minimum feed-in fee be? Wirken: ,,They don't want to run the risk of not being able to pass on extra costs.''

The price cap ends this year and my advice is still to choose a fixed contract now

The energy crisis with record prices like last summer is over, but energy companies are still nervous about purchasing large amounts of energy without enough buyers. Purchasing prices for energy fluctuate sharply. Natural gas, for example, is now 30 percent more expensive than two weeks ago. There are great fears that the unleashed war in Israel is putting pressure on gas supplies, and in times with little sun and little wind, a lot of gas is needed to produce electricity. That expensively generated electricity becomes extra expensive for power companies if it is to be delivered "free" to solar panel owners.

The nervousness is also present among consumers. ''We notice it in the crowds when there is news about war in the Middle East and the consequences for the price of gas,'' said Joris Kerkhof of comparison site Independer. Some 4.5 million households still have a variable contract. ''Not so surprising because so far variable prices were falling, but now we are seeing the first increases again. The price cap ends this year and my advice is still to choose a fixed contract now.''

The additional costs charged by energy companies are causing a longer payback period for solar panels. The installation industry is noticing a declining interest in solar panels among individuals because they are uncertain about the payback period. Moreover, according to Milieu Centraal, the prices of solar panel installations have risen by 50 percent, increasing the payback period to eight years. The additional charges charged by energy companies could add another year and a half.

Last summer when electricity prices were skyrocketing due to the energy crisis, solar panel installers were churning out work and there were long wait times, but now they are reporting a sharp drop in orders. Energy suppliers are imposing additional costs on customers with solar panels, and on top of that, in some homes, if the neighborhood is producing too much solar power because the power grid can't handle it, the system fails. The yield on the sunniest days of the year then falls short.


Wirken has a tip for people who will soon have solar panels installed: ''Take out a multi-year contract before the solar panels are installed, then you'll still benefit from the cashback and be sure that the fixed supply costs won't change.''

Source: The Gelderlander