New grants aim to incentivise businesses to join the solar revolution.
Grants of up to €162,500 to businesses and organisations to install rooftop solar panels are to become available.
The Irish Government has approved amendments to the existing Non-Domestic Microgeneration Scheme, operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), to extend supports to a wider range of businesses and non-domestic applicants.
“Unleashing the commercial rooftop sector could make an impact on our renewable electricity targets”
This will be done through tiered grant supports for solar PV – for installation sizes greater than 6 kWp up to 1,000 kWp (1 MW) capacity.
A sunny disposition on energy costs
The new range of installation sizes will cover a significant variety of businesses, from small local shops up to large manufacturing facilities. It will also be available for public buildings, sports clubs and community organisations. An installation size of 1000 kWp equates to approximately 2,500 solar PV panels, which could be accommodated on a large factory or warehouse rooftop.
The amended scheme will operate on an introductory basis to the end of 2023 following which it will be assessed and subject to the normal budgetary process into 2024/2025. SEAI will implement the necessary changes and will open for applications under the amended scheme guidelines in mid-July.
The new scheme amendments allow for the expansion of grant supports for installation sizes up to 1,000 kWp capacity – significantly above the 6 kWp limit previously under the scheme. By making grants available to the maximum range of businesses as part of a pilot programme, this also facilitates the assessment of the full level of demand across industry for solar PV solutions. This will also provide valuable data, regarding a potential multi-annual support for SMEs.
“This move by Government shows Ireland’s continued commitment to supporting all of our citizens, businesses and community organisations – to be part of our journey to a cleaner, cheaper and renewable energy future” Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, said.
“It also shows strong cross-Government commitment to developing innovative solutions that can not only provide support to businesses to manage their energy costs but also empower those businesses to invest in an enduring solution which also reduces their carbon footprint and supports the local electricity grid.
“We have removed planning permission requirements to install solar panels, and we’ve reduced the VAT to 0% for the supply and installation of solar panels on homes. As a result, our Domestic Solar PV Scheme operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland is continuing to power ahead with record levels of applications in 2022 and 2023, resulting in approximately 60,000 homes now being registered as microgenerators.”
The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) has welcomed the new grant scheme to support businesses to install Solar PV panels. According to ISEA, the new scheme will help businesses cope with high energy costs while also enhancing Ireland’s overall solar capacity.
“Meeting Ireland’s national target of 8GW of solar by the end of the decade requires solar panels installed on rooftops of every size across the country. Homes across Ireland have increasingly embraced the benefits of rooftop solar panels, however businesses have lacked a comparable level of support,” said ISEA CEO Conall Bolger.
“These new grants will incentivise more businesses to join the solar revolution. This will reduce their own costs while dramatically increasing the capacity of rooftop solar to help Ireland decarbonise.”
Explaining how businesses installing solar will aid Ireland’s climate goals, Bolger said: “Businesses typically operate in larger premises, quite simply they have larger roofs and therefore can generate more power. The potential is substantial. Unleashing the commercial rooftop sector could make an impact on our renewable electricity targets.
“A new EU directive will introduce requirements for large buildings to install solar in the years ahead. We welcome that government is showing leadership by offering incentives before this is a requirement.”