Micro generation is the general term used to refer to generation of electricity from renewable technologies including solar photovoltaic (PV), micro-wind, micro-hydro and micro combined heat and power (CHP). In 2018, an assessment of micro generation, across a number of renewable electricity generating technologies, was carried out as part of the economic analysis to underpin the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).
The assessment identified technical and financial challenges, which may need to be addressed before a broader support scheme for micro generation can be introduced. This is in line with international and EU experience, where many member states who have introduced supports for micro generation have had to reform them or cancel them altogether.
Action 30 of the Climate Action Plan, which includes the establishment of a working group in Q3 2019, sets out the steps necessary and timelines for the delivery of an enabling framework for microgeneration. The working group is established and is progressing a detailed work programme.
The Plan provides that a support payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be available to all micro-generators by 2021 whilst ensuring principles of equity, self-consumption and energy efficiency first are incorporated. A Public consultation/call-for-evidence of possible support mechanisms will commence in 2020.
Tax based incentives for the development of renewable technologies, namely the Accelerated Capital Allowances Scheme and the Employment and Investment Incentive are available for investments in micro generation technologies.
In addition, S.I. 201 of 2012, provides for the refund of VAT paid by farmers on qualifying equipment, purchased from 1 January 2012, for the purposes of micro generation of electricity (wind and solar) for use in a farm business.
Improvements for farm enterprises are supported by the Department for Agriculture, Food and Marine, under the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme as part of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine announced an expansion of the Scheme in April 2019 which includes €17 million in grant supports specifically aimed at improving energy efficiency in the farming sector. Solar PV Installation of 6kWp and Battery Storage Systems on farms were provided for, on a pilot basis, with effect from April 2019. Grant aid under TAMS II is available at a rate of 40%, or of up to 60% in the case of qualified young farmers. Full details are available here.
The SEAI has a pilot scheme for support of rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels in domestic dwellings built and occupied before 2011, offering homeowners a rebate to support the installation of Solar PV panels and battery energy storage systems.
This will reduce the electricity costs of homes in the scheme. More information can be found at the SEAI website.
SEAI also has a Better Energy Communities scheme which is a national retrofit initiative with grant support of up to €28 million each year, including Solar PV installations. Through this scheme support in achieving energy efficiency and reduced energy use and costs can be delivered for homeowners, communities, and private sector organisations.
More information is available at the SEAI website.