Paying because you generate your own energy

Published: Sept. 4, 2023 at 10:05 a.m.

  • Dutch energy supplier introduces charge for customers with solar panels.
  • They will pay an average of 10 to 20 euros per month.
  • Increasingly, the electricity grid is overloaded because many Dutch people have solar panels
  • Suppliers incur high costs as a result; they want to cover this with the levy
  • More and more energy companies are watching closely

A Dutch energy supplier is going to charge its customers for generating solar power. Solar panel owners will start paying about 10 to 20 euros a month for power they feed back into the grid. Soon several energy companies will follow, experts say.

The charge goes into effect immediately for new customers; existing customers will be affected as soon as their contracts expire.

The energy company with some 180,000 customers has been struggling for some time with rising costs as more and more Dutch people opt for solar panels. All these customers generate solar energy simultaneously, often in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest. As a result, the electricity grid becomes overloaded at that time; when this happens, energy companies have to pay money to high-voltage operator TenneT to deal with it. The more dutch people generate their own solar energy, the more often costs have to be incurred for the overloaded power grid. "Our costs have more than doubled compared to last year." So says the energy supplier's CFO. The company says it now has to pay more than 10 million a year. This is passed on to consumers by levying "feed-in" fees


According to the CFO, this way the supplier "fairly" puts the bill on the right people. The grid costs are currently divided among all customers, including those who do not have solar panels. They will soon pay up to 20 euros less per month. Nevertheless, it is still more advantageous to have solar panels. A calculation example shows that the average customer earns roughly 250 euros per year from his solar panels, where previously this was 500 euros. So a minus of 50%.

"We hope the charge will encourage customers to use power at times when it is generated." Consider charging the electric car during the day or turning on the washing machine.

Yet The Consumers' Association has substantial reservations about the tax. It stops people wanting to buy solar panels, which in turn has implications for the pursuit of climate goals. The fact is that people who own panels are disadvantaged. Yet energy companies are free to impose levies on its customers.

According to experts, other energy suppliers will soon follow suit. It was imminent that an energy company would say, "This is no longer affordable." It is all but certain that in the future, energy companies will differentiate between customers with and without solar panels. "It's actually weird that households have to pay for doing the right thing, which is generating renewable electricity.

Saling scheme

Our country's 3 largest energy companies are not ruling out introducing a similar charge. The groups have the same problem and are looking for a solution.

The energy sector has repeatedly raised the ever-rising grid costs with politicians. After a heated debate, the Lower House agreed to phase out the net-metering scheme. This scheme was once created as a lure for purchasing solar panels. Now that the price of solar panels has dropped, the government believes this scheme is no longer necessary. PvdA and GroenLinks eventually voted against it for fear that the Netherlands will not achieve its climate goals, making it uncertain whether the phase-out will pass the Senate.

The politicians dawdle too long fin the industry association for renewable energy companies NVDE. The phasing out of the balancing scheme has been pushed so far ahead that the energy market is now coming up with its own solution.