As a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is currently under consideration by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), a recent analysis commissioned by Friends of the Earth (FOE) and carried out by climate policy expert Joseph Curtin proposes a support scheme which emphasises the cost-effectiveness of residential rooftop solar PV development across the country, adding a significant contribution towards Ireland’s low- carbon energy transition.
In the paper a financial modelling is suggested, initially to be limited to 50.000 households, to support evidence that rooftop solar PV installation “can be done at a reasonable cost in a fair way” according to the author. This will increase social benefits deriving from the generation of type of electricity as show by successful examples from the UK and across Europe.
Arguments in favour as well as counter-arguments are also addressed in the research. For instance, even though it is recognized that small-scale rooftop installations are more expensive if compared to commercial buildings, it is also pinpointed how there is no evidence in any literature, policy assessment or report which can suggest that only high income householders can get benefits from the investment in solar power generation.
“The government has promised to put citizens and communities at the heart of the transition to a clean energy system and this research shows that solar power is the key to unlocking citizens participation” said Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth.
The Irish Government has now an important opportunity to take a further step towards the decarbonisation of its economy while increasing public participation.