On Monday May 20 the final ruling was pronounced in the case that the Association for Sustainable Energy (VDE) and Supermercado Luz bv (Goisco) instituted against the Country of Curacao and Aqualectra in 2015. In the case the Court in the First Instance put the Country of Curacao and Aqualectra in the right. Former colleague Mayesi Hammoud (in the final phase replaced by Thies Leijssen) and Aubrich Bakhuis assisted the Country successfully in this case.

The reason for this court case was the implementation of the ministerial decree ‘return feed of sustainably generated electricity’ in 2015. According to VDE and Goisco the said regulations were considerably less favorable than the previously applicable regulations.

Despite adjustment of the regulations in 2018, VDE and Goisco claimed that the ministerial decree had to be declared non-binding on account of the fact that, in their opinion, there was question of arbitrariness and the regulations would be in violation of the general principles of proper administration.

The price established in these regulations consists of two components: on the one hand the return rate that the generator of solar energy receives from Aqualectra per generated kWh, on the other hand the fixed monthly fee that these generators must pay to Aqualectra on a monthly basis for their connection to the grid. The latter component has meanwhile been adjusted by Aqualectra in favor of the generators of solar energy. Nonetheless the parties could not agree on the present payback period for the purchase of solar panels.

In the ruling the Court attached ample importance to this payback period. On the basis of reports of the experts hired by both parties it was calculated that the payback period for solar panels arrives at an average of 7 to 10 years. The Court ruled that this is in line with the internationally applicable payback period (7 to 10 years) and consequently (also on that ground) dismissed the claims of VDE and Goisco.