Continuing on the short, but misleading article about solar energy doing better than nuclear on August 13, in the comments there was an interesting conversation of some solar panel owners who complained that they have to pay extra for their use of the grid. It started like this (translated from Dutch):
incredible that we, owners of solar panels once more have to cough up a hefty amount extra because we use the grid. Long live Belgium.
Alluding to the fee to be paid by all those who produce electricity and put it on the grid. Initially, individual home owners with solar panels were exempt to promote the installation of solar panels, but later it was ruled that also home owner had to pay the fee. Another comment followed up on that: (translated from Dutch):
Today I have consumed nothing and produced a lot. I now must pay for that …. Meanwhile, my energy is sold. I call that theft
Another commenter seems better informed and turned the tables (translated from Dutch):
Energy from solar panels is expensive and over-subsidized. It is because of them that we now pay about 80 euro more per year. Yet some believe that they should receive more compensation, that is barking mad. If the meter turns backwards, you are selling your energy at the price that you’d otherwise have to pay and then there are the certificates. Theft.
Later someone with the handle “Dumb blonde 1” jumped in, repeating the “solar energy saved the day (notwithstanding this argument being tackled before) and living up to the chosen handle (translated from Dutch, some interpunctuation added for clarity):
should all solar panel owners disconnect their system now, then all those jealous people would be without power like in Poland not long ago. Actually, now is the time to pull together against the unjust transport costs and to those jealous people, the person who puts the energy on the net that he didn’t consume gets no euro cent for that, those are sold by the company and is pure profit for them. The solar panel owner only gets the certificate
Well, I don’t think that this is what reality shows. Luckily sanity prevailed when another commenter dropped by (translated from Dutch):
If all solar panel owners switch their systems off, then no one would fall without power. This happens every night and every time there is insufficient or no sun. The fossil backup then kicks in and all the lights will stay on. A solar panel has a efficiency of 15%. This has nothing to do with jealousy but with pure natural laws, which are the same for everyone, rich or poor, solar panel owner or not.
That is hitting the nail on the head.
Solar energy is only available when the sun shines and there is no guarantee that there is a lot of solar energy when the demand is high or that there is less solar energy available when the demand is low. The defenders seem to ignore this part of the equation.
In this example, the panel owner had panels that produced a lot of electricity and the owner didn’t need it initially. That electricity was put on the grid. Later when he needs electricity he draws it from the grid, even at times that his panels don’t produce anymore. This means that the electricity grid is used as a kind of a battery where he puts electricity if there is a lot of sunlight, yet expects to get electricity from it later.
From the perspective of the panel owner this doesn’t really matter, but the same can not be said from the perspective of the grid manager. The time of production is not necessarily the time electricity was needed and this production has to be balanced with the demand.
The situation would be very different when the property of that panel owner was disconnected from the grid and he uses the electricity that his own panels produced. In that case the electricity he needs would not be taken into account by the net manager. If many panel owners would do the same, this would definitely save conventional resources. That is of course not the case now. The net manager has to take into account the electricity needed for the consumption of the panel owners when their panels are not producing or produce too little.
So I think the panel owners have more advantages that they want to admit:
- When panels of the home owner are producing electricity the meter will go backwards and they don’t need to pay for the energy produced. Whether this energy was produced at a time that there was a need for it or not doesn’t matter
- When the panel owner needs energy, that will be available to him, even when his panels produce anything or not enough. He doesn’t need to make any investments to balance his production against his demand
- Those who had their panels installed before 2014 (the most of them), will get a green certificate for each 1,000 kWh produced, whether that 1,000 kWh was produced at a time it was needed or not.
But that is not how they paint themselves. They trying to paint themselves as the saviors who need to pay for putting their produced energy on the net and in the meanwhile someone else is collecting the profit.
Poor sods 😉