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Ireland Launches Fixed Tariff Scheme for Small-Scale Solar Initiatives

published: 2024-05-27 17:36

The next stage of Ireland’s Small-Scale Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (SRESS) targets local communities and small- to medium-sized enterprises engaged in self-generated electricity production.

Ireland’s government has unveiled the next phase of its SRESS initiative. This latest phase specifically caters to community and local endeavors, including Renewable Energy Communities (RECs). Additionally, it extends support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in self-generation of solar or wind energy. The program also welcomes export-only projects below 1 MW capacity.

Under the scheme, participants are assured a feed-in-premium tariff without the need for an auction. As outlined by government guidelines, successful applicants stand to benefit from a premium added to the market revenues generated by their renewable electricity.

The tariff rates for Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) have been established at €150 ($162.70)/MWh for solar projects below 1 MW, and €140/MWh for projects ranging from 1 MW to 6 MW. Meanwhile, for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the tariff rates stand at €130/MWh for solar projects under 1 MW and €120/MWh for projects between 1 MW and 6 MW. Notably, the scheme has implemented more affordable tariffs for wind projects.

Per government directives, the tariff for Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) is set at a higher rate. This adjustment accounts for the extra challenges these projects encounter during planning, grid connection, and financing phases. It also mirrors the public policy stance favoring community engagement in renewable energy initiatives.

The Irish Solar Energy Association has embraced the latest phase of the scheme, hailing it as a substantial opportunity for communities, local enterprises, and SMEs to spearhead Ireland's shift towards renewable energy. Conall Bolger, CEO of the association, emphasized the importance of prioritizing grid connection improvements to facilitate the smooth integration of small-scale generators into the national electricity network. Bolger highlighted that efficient grid connections are indispensable for renewable energy projects, underscoring that without swift and cost-effective access to the national energy grid, initiatives like SRESS cannot reach their full potential.

In 2023, Ireland initiated the first phase of SRESS, targeting self-consumers with capacities ranging from above 50 kW to 1 MW. A forthcoming third phase, slated for 2026, is anticipated to extend support across all applicant categories. Aligning with its ambitious renewable energy goals, the Irish government has set a target for 80% of its energy market to be sourced from renewables by 2030.

From PV Magazine

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