“Turning your home into a renewable power station is now one step closer. Micro generation is an incredibly exciting space that will allow citizens in local communities to generate their own electricity and contribute towards Ireland’s climate action targets. With this grant that I am announcing today, a typical 3 bed semi-detached house would spend about €1,800 on a solar panel system and would save approximately €220 per year on their electricity bills. The Government is committed to helping citizens reduce their energy use and making clean energy cheaper and affordable to use. The introduction of a grant for household solar PV and further increases to home energy grant amounts demonstrates this commitment.”

“We welcome the announcement of grants for Solar PV for domestic users and the additional grant for battery storage,” said Aedín McLoughlin, CEO of GEAI. “There is no doubt that this programme will encourage householders to install solar PV and benefit from lower electricity bills.  However, the absence of any feed-in tariffs, which pay for excess electricity fed back into the grid, is disappointing and will curtail the real solar revolution that is possible for Ireland.   

This initiative is described by the Minister as “a step towards turning your home into a renewable power station”.  It may be a step, but it misses out on the most essential point which is that power stations not only generate electricity, they also generate revenue.  Looking at the international scene, where solar PV is used most extensively and contributes most to local economics, is where there is a mixture of incentives – grants plus feed-in tariffs.  Germany and Denmark are examples. 

With this scheme, domestic users are encouraged to use solar energy.  While warmly welcomed, the restrictive nature of the scheme does not cater for rural dwellers, especially farmers, who wish to install solar panels on farm buildings or to commission solar farms on part of their land and to generate a new source of revenue through being paid for the electricity they generate. 

Our vision is of a country where, using renewable energy sources, every community can be self-sufficient, generating more power than they use, benefiting their communities and lowering Ireland’s carbon emissions.  This programme is a step towards its realisation and we look forward to a time when the government will buy into this vision and enable all citizens to achieve the full potential of the solar revolution.