No money back yet for solar energy producers

St. Maarten – Solar panel owners who produce more electricity than they consume will not get any money back from utilities company Gebe for the time being. “There is no agreement about at what price Gebe would buy back electricity,” Gebe’s Chief Financial Officer René Gartner told this newspaper yesterday by way of explanation.

For this reason, clients with solar installation who happen to have an electronic meter, are administratively put on zero when their production exceeds their consumption.

”If you produce 50 kilowatt and you use 49, you will get a bill for 1 kilowatt,” Gartner explains. But consumers who produce more than they use will not get credit or a negative bill.

“Our administration reads what consumers produce and what they consume,” Gartner said. “When consumers give more back to the grid than they use, their account will administratively put on zero. We are doing a number of studies right now into alternative energy sources. Part of that is a proper tariff structure. Those tariffs need approval from the government.”

Once the tariffs are approved, consumers who overproduce will be able to get some money back from Gebe.

In the meantime, solar installation do benefit their owners, bringing down utility-bills by as much as 65 percent.

Source: Today SXM