The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, announced Government approval for the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS). This scheme provides a range of supports to assist homes and businesses to develop renewable generation for self-consumption; the micro-generation enabling framework introduces payments to micro-generators for exported electricity for the first time.
Minister Ryan said, “I am delighted to announce Government approval for the Micro-generation Support Scheme. This marks an important step on the energy transition journey. The Government is developing a framework of supports – to enable homes, businesses, farms and communities to install renewable generation for their own consumption and receive a payment for any residual electricity they export to the grid. Micro-generation has an important role to play in empowering and driving engagement and participation. It creates opportunities for domestic, community, farming and small commercial customers to take the first steps towards investment in renewable technologies, which can play a role in shaping electricity demand and decarbonising homes and businesses.”
Key features of the MSS framework
- The Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS) is targeting support for 380MW of installed micro-generation capacity, to contribute to the target of up to 2.5GW of solar renewables under the Climate Action Plan. Depending on panel size, that equates to over 1 million solar panels, on approximately 70,000 buildings.
- Home-owners will be eligible to receive a Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) tariff, for any exported electricity, at a competitive market rate from their electricity supplier.
- Home-owners will continue to be able to apply to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for a grant towards the cost of installing equipment. In 2022, the grants will be at the same level per kW as the current SEAI solar PV grant scheme (maximum €2,400).
- Non-domestic applicants will also be eligible to receive the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) tariff, for any exported electricity, at a competitive market rate from their electricity supplier.
- Projects between 6kW and 50kW will receive a Clean Export Premium (CEP) tariff per kWh exported, for a period of 15 years, from their electricity supplier. The Clean Export Premium (CEP) will be €0.135/kWh in 2022, which is higher than the current average wholesale electricity price. Any difference between the CEP tariff and wholesale electricity prices will be supported by the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy. Exported volumes of electricity eligible for the Clean Export Premium (CEP) tariff will be capped at 80% of generation capacity – to incentivise self-consumption.
- It is expected that the Clean Export Premium (CEP) will commence in the third quarter of 2022, when a payment mechanism will be determined by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
- Businesses, farms, community buildings such as schools, sports clubs, etc, generating up to 5.9kW will be eligible for a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grant at the same levels as domestic customers. This specific grant will be available later in 2022.
- Community enterprises including sports clubs and community halls will be eligible to participate, either as individual micro-generators or as community projects within the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS).
- Supports under the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS) will gradually reduce over time from 2024, based on reaching specific deployment milestones. It is expected that supports for new installations will begin to be phased out from 2028 (see the summary table in the Notes To The Editor section).
In conclusion, Minister Ryan added, “the enabling framework for micro-generators will support homes and businesses to participate as active energy citizens, reduce their energy costs and contribute to carbon reduction targets. This is part of an overall Government strategy to support deployment of renewable generation out to 2030.”