Private individuals do not receive the same amount for solar energy everywhere. The first supplier is now buying solar energy throughout Switzerland.
Anyone who runs a photovoltaic system on their roof feeds excess electricity into the local energy supplier’s grid and gets paid for it. However, the amount of this so-called acceptance fee depends on where you live. Some energy suppliers will pay as little as 5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2022, while others have temporarily increased their tariffs to more than 40 cents/kWh due to rising electricity prices.
The first energy supplier buys from outside
Until now, private individuals could only sell their solar energy to a local energy supplier. Lucerne-based energy supplier CKW recently offered the option of purchasing solar energy from smaller photovoltaic systems outside its supply area. This means that homeowners now have the option to choose their customers and sell their solar energy at a higher price. For private individuals, the change could be worthwhile, as CKW rewards according to the currently high reference market price of the Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and pays a decent Rp. 40/kWh.
In this way, the company wants to create incentives and support the expansion of solar energy. However, the market price is very volatile, whether it will be as high next year is not certain. Still, many private individuals seem to be happy about the new opportunity. “We already have over 600 registrations in a short time,” says CKW CEO Martin Schwab.
The differences are huge
Depending on where you live, a lucrative solar panel business may or may not be appealing. Since there are hundreds of energy suppliers in Switzerland, the differences are huge within a few kilometers. Example: The photovoltaic system in Meiringen supplies excess electricity to the network of the operator “Alpen Energie Meiringen” and receives 5.4 cents per kilowatt hour. In the neighboring municipality of Hasliberg, the company BKW is responsible for energy supplies, which paid 40.3 cents per kilowatt hour in the third quarter of this year. More than seven times the reward in Meiringen.
the law is too imprecise
The Swissolar Association for Solar Energy also supports the fact that private individuals are now able to choose their solar energy consumers. However, the situation is unsatisfactory: “These differences are absurd, the law needs to be changed,” says David Stickelberger, CEO of Swissolar.
The law stipulates that the reward must be based on the saved costs of acquiring equivalent electricity. Because energy suppliers have very different purchasing structures, the current law is too imprecise, says Stickelberger.
The Council of States approved the new law
The Grand Senate already approved the amendment to the Energy Act in September. A national lower limit of the purchase fee is to apply, which is intended to guarantee the profitability of photovoltaic system operators. At the same time, an upper limit is to be introduced. Tariffs of up to 40 centimes will therefore no longer exist in the long term, says Stickelberger from Swissolar. “My guess is that the bottom line will be somewhere between 8 and 10 cents per kilowatt hour.”
According to Stickelberger, the upper limit should be double the proposal. The proposal will be debated in the National Council’s environment committee in early 2023. Solar power producers will have to live with differential remuneration for a while longer – or try to sell their electricity “abroad” at a higher price.