The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has announced new government supports of up to €2,400 for the installation of solar PV (photovoltaic) panels – for businesses, public organisations and community groups. The new grant scheme will be administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels convert energy from the sun into electricity, thereby reducing the amount of electricity a building draws from the national grid and, thus, lowering electricity bills.
At the current high electricity prices, a business might expect to save up to €3,000 per annum from a solar PV system supported under this scheme. This means that the installation can pay for itself quickly – thus helping to protect businesses and organisations (such as sports clubs) across the country against rising energy prices into the future (through significantly reduced electricity bills).
This announcement signals the latest phase in the government’s Micro-generation Support Scheme. The first phase of the scheme was launched in December 2021, offering grants for solar PV panels on domestic houses. In 2022 the maximum grant available is €2,400 and it will remain at this level for 2023. In February of this year the government announced an export tariff – the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) – as part of the scheme. This provided the mechanism by which micro-generators can be paid (by energy suppliers) for excess electricity exported back into the national grid.
Speaking about the latest supports, Minister Ryan said:
“This new support scheme is part of a wider roll-out of initiatives to make the installation of solar easier and more cost effective for homeowners, businesses and public bodies. It’s Ireland’s rooftop revolution.
“With these grants, more businesses, organisations and community groups can start to take greater control of their energy costs by harnessing the power of the sun – providing for their own needs first, with the additional bonus of getting paid for excess energy that they might produce. With upcoming changes to planning exemptions, simpler grid application routes, export payment announcements, and capital supports from SEAI, it’s an ideal time for anybody to consider going solar to save money and to help reduce our emissions.”
Also commenting, Declan Meally – Director of Business: Public Sector and Transport with SEAI – said:
“Energy prices are at an all-time high right now, due to war and conflict outside our control. Organisations are looking at ways to reduce their reliance on expensive energy sources, and to switch to secure, clean and more affordable alternatives. These new grants for solar PV will help businesses and organisations to take control of energy costs now, and ensure that they are future-proofed with renewable electricity supply from their own roofs.”
The scheme will provide grant funding up to a maximum of €2,400 towards the installation of solar PV technology up to a maximum of 6kWp (approximately 16 solar panels over 25m2). The scheme provides an opportunity for all areas of the non-domestic sector to not only reduce their electricity bills, but to visibly demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and Ireland’s broader climate action goals.
Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) – to save on your electricity bills
A key benefit of micro-generation is the money you save on your electricity bill, by producing some of your own electricity – using renewable sources.
Work is ongoing at pace, to ensure that all micro-generators will quickly receive payments for surplus electricity that goes back into the grid. Most suppliers have already now advertised their Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) tariff rates. Micro-generators will not lose out while payment systems are put in place. Payments will be backdated to the date of eligibility or 15 February 2022 (the date the relevant regulations were enacted), whichever is the latest.
Clean Export Premium (CEP) — for installation sizes greater than 6kWp up to 50kWp
The final phase of the Micro-generation Support Scheme will involve the introduction of a Clean Export Premium (CEP) feed-in tariff – to support electricity exported to the grid from non-domestic applicants for installation sizes greater than 6kWp up to 50kWp. The CRU (Commission for Regulation of Utilities) will consult on an implementation plan for the Clean Export Premium (CEP) tariff, which will consists of a guaranteed export tariff support for new installations, that is fixed for 15 years.