Ireland announces increased support for solar energy projects – Euractiv EN

The Irish government announced on Tuesday (July 5th) that it will provide increased support to businesses adopting solar energy by making grants available to more of them to install photovoltaic panels.

Changes in the “non-domestic microgeneration program” (Non-domestic microgeneration scheme) currently underway cover financing for larger projects ranging from 6 to 1,000 kilowatt-peak (kWp) and can reduce the payback period to as little as five years.

“This Government decision demonstrates Ireland’s continued commitment to supporting all its citizens, businesses and community organizations to participate in our journey towards a cleaner, cheaper and renewable energy future.”said climate and environment minister Eamon Ryan.

Ireland aims to have 80% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, doubling its generation in 2020. It has also set a target of having 5 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by 2025 and 8 GW by the end of the decade. .

Meeting the 8 gigawatt target will require installing solar panels on rooftops of all sizes across the country, said Conall Bolger, chief executive of the Irish Solar Energy Association.

According to the Irish government, the new range of installation sizes will suit a “a wide range of businesses”from small local shops to large manufacturing plants and public buildings such as sports clubs and community organisations.

Reduce dependence on gas and oil

“The new aid regime is a welcome step to avoid greater reliance on expensive and polluting gas and oil and to enable community organizations to get involved in the energy transition”explained Jerry Mac Evilly, head of policy for environmental NGO Friends of the Earth in Ireland.

“Unfortunately, Ireland starts very far behind its European neighbours. But it is beginning to realize that solar power is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (and) Ireland’s dependence on gas-fired electricity generation.’said EURACTIV.

The country also has a program for domestic solar PV, Ryan said “keep moving forward” with a record level of demand in 2022 and 2023. As a result, about 60,000 households are now registered as micro-generators.

“It is therefore essential that companies benefit from the same opportunity to start their energy transition”he said.

Business potential

The solar industry welcomed the decision to expand the scope to encourage more companies to go solar and reduce costs.

“More and more Irish households are taking advantage of rooftop solar panels. However, businesses did not benefit from a comparable level of support.Mr. Bolger explained.

“Businesses generally operate in larger spaces (than houses). Simply put, they have bigger roofs and can therefore generate more energy. The potential is considerable”, he continued. And to add that this “may impact our renewable electricity targets ».

For example, a 1 kWp installation would be equivalent to approximately 2,500 photovoltaic solar panels that could be installed on the roof of a large factory or warehouse.

Ireland’s electricity grid operator, EirGrid Group, has also supported Irish renewable energy by developing a new strategy to align the electricity grid with Ireland’s 2030 renewable energy targets.

“It is clear that urgent action and large-scale investment are needed”said Mr. Bolger.

“We need to invest in our electricity grid to meet the needs of the 21st century and be ready to face the expected influx of electricity from renewable sources. Society and the political system must support these investments in order to decarbonize our economy.added Mr. Bolger.

(Editing by Anne-Sophie Gayet)

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