Solar PV limit of new support scheme for businesses criticized

Supports of up to €2,400 for the installation of solar PV panels for businesses, public organizations and community groups have been announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

At the current high electricity prices, a business might expect to save up to €3,000 per annum from a solar PV system under the latest phase of the Micro-generation Support Scheme.

Grant funding will be provided towards the installation of solar PV technology up to a maximum of 6kWp (kilowatt peak), which equals approximately 16 solar panels over 25m2.

Speaking about the latest supports, Minister Ryan said the new support scheme is part of a wider roll-out of initiatives to make the installation of solar easier and more cost effective. He continued:

“With these grants, more businesses, organizations and community groups can start to take greater control of their energy costs by harnessing the power of the sun – providing for their own needs first, with the additional bonus of getting paid for excess energy that they might produce.

“With upcoming changes to planning exemptions, simpler grid application routes, export payment announcements, and capital supports from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), it’s an ideal time for anyone to consider going solar to save money and to help reduce our emissions. ”

The Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF) has criticized the 6kWp limit as any business owner or community organization will want to optimize the use of solar PV for their business, chair Pat Smith said.

Minister Ryan needs to revisit the scheme’s rules if it is to have any credibility with the business community, according to the MREF chair.

MREF

In response to yesterday’s (Thursday, September 22) announcement, the MREF has criticized what it calls a “seriously flawed and misleading” solar PV grant scheme.

Thousands of small businesses across the country that are struggling to meet their energy bills will not qualify, according to the MREF.

“The vast majority of small businesses hoping to install solar PV are going to get very angry when they realize that the modest, but welcome, grant is available if they install up to 6kWp of solar PV but that they will get no grant if they put one panel more than the limit on their business, regardless of what the business needs.

“This is in stark contrast to a home owner who will get the €2,400 regardless of how much solar PV they install,” according to Smith.

The scheme does not support Ireland’s ‘Roof-Top Revolution’ in any fair way, as, in reality, most [small businesses] will not qualify for the grant if they put any more than 6kWp of solar PV on their roof spaces, he said.

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