Historic growth in the number of solar panels on residential rooftops in 2022
Energy grid operators have observed a historic growth in the number of solar panels on residential roofs in 2022. The net metering scheme has been an important driver of the popularity of solar panels among homeowners, reports trade association Netbeheer Nederland. Since 2004, this scheme has led to the unprecedented rapid growth in the number of solar panels on the roofs of homes, both those which are owner-occupied, and rentals.
The price of the panels has fallen enormously, which has considerably reduced the period to reach a break-even point. That is why the network operators, together with other trade associations, support a proposal for gradually phasing out the scheme and have asked politicians to take the first step in this direction.
Last year, the capacity of the solar panels on residential roofs in the various provinces grew by between 25 and 40 percent compared to 2021. According to the grid managers, however, the Dutch electricity grid is not designed to essentially function like a large, free battery to store and deploy the large amount of solar power.
According to the network operators, it is better if the generated energy is used directly in the home, for example by running a washing machine or charging a car at sunny moments. They also argue for incentives to stimulate the storage of self-generated power, so that consumers themselves can use the power they generate in the evening.
Not only solar panels, but also charging stations for electric cars and heat pumps are highly sought after by consumers. These developments require cables that can carry much more electricity current than most of the current cables used to connect homes. To meet all of these wishes, network operators across the country are working on strengthening and expanding the hundreds of thousands of kilometers of electricity grid infrastructure.
In 2022, the network operators placed thousands of kilometers of new cables under streets, and will install hundreds of new transformer stations in neighbourhoods. They will continue to do so in the coming years.
Reporting by ANP