In February, the Dutch House of Representatives voted to phase out the country’s net metering system. In so doing, the Dutch government is threatening the Netherlands’s solar revolution.
The government is being misleading in its argument against the net metering scheme for solar panels. The politicians claim that net metering it is an unjust subsidy for the wealthy. They plan to gradually eliminate this successful system beginning in 2025.
However, the reality is quite the opposite. Private investors who purchase solar panels are actively contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions without receiving any subsidy. By phasing out net metering, the government intends to tax the sustainable electricity produced by individuals from their own solar panels, which were purchased using personal funds.
To illustrate, let’s consider a scenario where a man consumes 2500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually and generates 1500 kWh through his solar panels. With net metering, he only pays for the net difference of 2500 – 1500 = 1000 kWh. Without this system, he would have to pay the market price, including taxes, for the full 2500 kWh consumed.
Additionally, he would receive a lower price (excluding taxes) for the 1500 kWh that he supplies back to the grid. Consequently, the government would collect taxes on the 1500 kWh of power generated by his solar panels.
This approach appears to be a blatant act of theft, especially when considering that the electricity price that the Dutch pay already includes significant taxes. In response, some people may choose to disconnect their solar panels from the grid and exclusively rely on their own stored solar power. Is this what the government desires? A society where everyone fends for themselves?
The current system allows Dutch people to get energy from windmills when the sun isn’t shining, while receiving energy from solar panels when the wind isn’t blowing. Taxing privately generated sustainable electricity is the latest way that the Dutch government is unfairly nickel-and-diming its citizens.
20% of energy production in the Netherlands comes from renewable sources, the most in Europe. Just five years ago, the Netherlands had the second-lowest renewable energy production in Europe, just behind Malta. By phasing out net metering, the Dutch government is endangering the country’s solar gains.