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Proposal to move from net metering to storage in the Netherlands

The Netherlands storage industry association and the Dutch grid operators have proposed a faster phasing out of the net metering scheme to enable wider adoption of batteries among PV system owners. A 30% rebate on the purchase and installation of residential storage systems could help achieve the plan.

Netbeheer Nederland, the Dutch association of national and regional electricity and gas network operators, and the Netherlands’ association of energy storage technology providers, Energy Storage NL, have published a white paper in which they claim a faster phasing out of the net metering scheme combined with a rebate program for storage systems would make it possible to bring battery technologies to commercial maturity in the Dutch market as early as 2023.

In the document, the two entities stressed that solar capacity is growing too fast in the country and that grid bottlenecks are becoming a serious issue, especially for the low-voltage network. “The pressure on the low-voltage grids represents a barrier for consumers and companies to continue investing in solar on the roof,” the white paper reads. “Energy storage can be a good way to remove that barrier, but unfortunately it is not yet financially attractive, partly due to the net metering scheme in place.”

The net metering scheme was modified by the Dutch government in 2020 and is expected to remain in force, if not modified, until 2030. Since these provisions were put in place, net metering payments for excess power fed back into the grid are planned to fall in value by 9% per year. These tariffs still ensure reasonable payback times and keep driving the country’s residential PV market.

According to the two associations, if these rules are not amended and no incentives provided for storage, residential and commercial batteries may not reach commercial maturity in the Netherlands until 2028. If, instead, a rebate scheme covering 30% of the costs for buying and installing a battery is introduced, storage could already become viable by 2023.

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency recently estimated the country could reach 27 GW of installed PV capacity by 2030. The report’s authors said the planned phasing out of net metering for rooftop PV was more likely to influence the type of projects installed after 2023 than overall volumes.

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Dutch power and gas provider Liander – which serves the provinces of Gelderland and Noord-Holland and parts of Flevoland, Friesland and Zuid-Holland – recently said bottlenecks in the low-voltage grids may increase by 50% by 2030. In May 2020, the Dutch government said that grid operators were not obliged to compensate the owners of solar rooftops whose arrays are disconnected due to problems with grid capacity and voltage quality.

Liander recently implemented several measures to increase grid capacity in several Dutch regions afflicted by grid constraints, which are preventing more renewable energy plants from coming online. These include the deployment of two giant transformers and the application of congestion management to a bottleneck in the grid.

In November 2020, Netbeheer Nederland and the Dutch renewable energy associations De Nederlandse Vereniging Duurzame Energie (NVDE) and Holland Solar signed a preliminary agreement to ensure faster and cheaper grid connection of large-scale solar power plants to the network.

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Source: pv magazine