Under a new Government initiative, householders could receive a “feed-in tariff” for their excess electricity. The move would help Ireland reach a 2030 climate target of 70% of electricity production from renewables.
A micro-generation scheme is expected to be launched before the end of the year and a permanent support scheme for photovoltaic (PV) power which would allow all homeowners who have solar panels to sell their excess electricity will be launched by 2021. According to industry experts, a rate of 19 cents a kilowatt-hour (kWh) paid in a now-closed ESB scheme, could result in a payout of around €400 per year.
Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019 will enable Irish energy consumers to sell excess electricity they have produced back to the grid. Changing the electricity market rules in early 2020 in order to enable micro-generated electricity to be sold. This should include provision for a feed-in tariff for micro-generation to be set at least at the wholesale price point.
Lidl investing €1m in Ireland’s biggest installation of solar pv panels
The 1,011,929 kilowatt hours of electricity will come from a combined 4,364 solar pv panels on the roof of the new 58,000m2 distribution centre in Newbridge in Kildare, making it the biggest installation of solar panels ever in Ireland. This is the equivalent of providing the electricity requirements of 240 homes.
This installation will see Lidl investing €1 million in solar power at this site alone, in addition to another €1 million already invested across their entire Irish store network to date.
The Lidl property director Alan Barry spoke to Irish buildings magazine and said “Lidl is rooted in communities throughout Ireland and we pride ourselves on operating in a way that is sustainable with the least impact possible on the environment. We were very clear when building our largest distribution centre that we would integrate the latest sustainability innovations that will generate ongoing energy savings.”
The Irish Governments new climate action plan will phase out the use of coal and peat in electricity in 2025 and 2028 respectively. The Government aims to meet Ireland’s 2030 emissions targets through policies in the plan, which includes generating 70% of Ireland’s electricity generation coming from renewable sources. The recent landmark climate report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA) called for the 2050 net zero targets to be set in stone in new climate legislation.
We think this is a smart move from Lidl and will save them money, help the environment, meet nZEB standards and offset their carbon footprint.
Irish Schools Are To Benefit From Renewable Technologies
The new government-funded pilot scheme aims to create a scalable model for energy saving retrofitting for schools, targeting a 33% reduction in energy consumption as well as testing delivery and procurement models.
This is the ideal time to make schools carbon natural. As schools and colleges are mostly requiring electricity during daylight hours, it makes sense to install Solar PV panels. A total of 17 schools in Ireland are going to benefit from a €7 million fund for the installation of energy efficiency measures.
Each chosen school was assessed to ensure the future measures – which include upgrades to doors and windows, insulation, lighting, and heating as well as renewable technologies – were suitable and would deliver value to both the school and the pilot.
Joe McHugh, Minister for Education and Skills said: “This exciting collaboration sets an example by creating a better environment to learn and work for pupils, staff, and teachers. The money saved by ‘greening’ will support schools to concentrate resources on doing what they do best – teach.
“This pilot programme will demonstrate the most environmentally-friendly, high-performance and cost-effective solutions to turn older school buildings into top-rated energy efficient buildings. It’s good for schools and good for the environment.”
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has made recommendations after recent developments. Taking action on climate change is no longer an optional policy extra for the Irish government. Having signed up to and endorsed the 2015 Paris Agreement. The agreement was historic in that it was adopted by Ireland and 195 other countries. Represented the first-ever global, legally-binding climate deal. The agreement was also significant in that it accords the Just Transition concept a key, central role. This states the shape of their response to climate change and the transition to a future low carbon economy.
“The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has drawn up clear guidelines on how best to shape and implement a national Just Transition strategy. Recent developments in Bord na Mona provide a major opportunity to deliver on this commitment and ensure no workers or communities are left behind in the move away from peat production and into more sustainable forms of energy generation.”
They recommend Bord na Mona should take the lead in a major retrofitting programme across the Midlands and surrounding regions, to boost energy efficiency and assist in meeting national emissions targets. A national residential retrofit programme could create up to 18,750 new jobs with many located in the Midlands region with retraining to be provided for existing Bord na Mona staff.
Should Ireland fail to meet its emission targets, the government will face potential annual fines of up to €500 million, starting in 2020.
Renewable energy grants are available for Irish farms Up to €10m available to fund on-farm renewables.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced a series of exciting new grants available for Irish farms under the TAMS on-farm investment scheme. The new measure will make €10m worth of grants available for energy efficiencies and renewable energy technologies, following a comprehensive review of the TAMS scheme designed to increase its focus on sustainability.
Speaking today Minister Creed commented “a comprehensive review of the investment items available under TAMS has been carried out by my Department. The review factored in the latest available technologies to further drive energy efficiency at farm level and reduce electricity use on farms. This is part of the wider drive to position Irish agriculture as a global leader in sustainability and these investments will further enhance those credentials”.
The new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS opening 5 April next. Eligible investments include:
- Solar PV Installation on Farms – to extend current availability under the scheme to all sectors. Grant aid in this initial pilot phase of up to €9,300 or up to 60% of the overall cost will be available to fund a 6kWp solar system;
- LED Lighting –all lighting funded under the scheme will be required to be LED lighting. LED Lighting uses a fraction of the electricity consumed by conventional lighting. The current specifications for TAMS II include lighting in all new farm structures. In the future, only LED lighting only will now be grant aided.
The Minister concluded “I have listened to Irish farmers on this issue and their enthusiasm to invest in on-farm renewable technologies. I am pleased to be responding with these new grants. The TAMS scheme is already a significant investor in improving energy efficiency on Irish farms and we keep the scheme under constant review. Any new and emerging technologies will continue to be monitored with a view to their inclusion in future if feasible”.
Solar News – Irish Retailer Is Investing €3M In Solar PV.
SuperValu, one of Ireland’s leading grocery retailers have announced they are planning to install solar panels on 30 of their stores. Over the next two years, the retailer said that they will install PV panels to their stores as part of a €3 million investment. They are expected to offset some 60,000 kg of CO2 annually per store. The panels is also expected to be used to supply energy to electric car charging points (at selected stores). The move comes from SuperValu’s commitment to reduce its energy consumption by 20% by 2020.
While some SuperValu stores already have solar panels installed, Fermoy will be the pilot store for this latest project. Michael Riordan from SuperValu Fermoy received grant funding for the project from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
“I am delighted to install solar panels to SuperValu Fermoy. It will greatly reduce the store’s electricity bill, but more importantly, it will help to make Fermoy town a great place for future generations to work and live.”
SuperValu has a strong track record of introducing energy efficient equipment to its independent stores, with initiatives such as retrofitting energy-saving doors to refrigeration cabinets in 40% of its stores and installing LED lighting in over 60% of its store estate.
Harmony Solar Get Planning Permission For Solar Farm In Longford.
Longford County Council has granted a 10-year permit for the development of a solar farm in Middleton, Longford. Located in the townland of Killashee, the project is headed up by a Wexford-based company Harmony Solar. It is expected to cost in the region of €30 million to complete.
“Harmony Solar is delighted with the favorable decision by Longford County Council to grant planning permission for the Middleton, Killashee project. We look forward to working with Longford County Council and the local community in developing this renewable energy project.”
The solar pv panels being installed are expected to generate between 35 to 50 megawatts (MW) of electrical energy. This will be a massive boost to the area and the local economy. The company added that while it may surprise the people of Longford that the amount of sunlight in the county can provide such levels of energy it is very happy with their chosen site.
Another smaller-scale development is also expected to be planned for Clondra, Co Longford with both projects estimated to cost in the region of €30 million.
Solar power to be developed in Roscommon
ESB and Bord na Móna have announced plans for a joint venture to develop solar power in Ireland. The companies said the project, which will involve large swathes of peatland being covered in solar panels. This will provide renewable energy for thousands of homes in the Midlands of Ireland. They have committed €10m between them for pre-engineering assessments surrounding four bogland locations on which they aim to install two and a half thousand acres of solar panels.
The companies have said the reduction in the cost of solar technology made it a more financially viable option for Ireland. The new partnership aims to generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 150,000 homes when the solar farms become operational in 2019. Chief Executive of Bord na Móna Mike Quinn said that community engagement will be at the heart of the project with open and transparent engagement with households adjacent to any proposed development.
Planning Application For A Solar Farm In Laois.
Vento Ludens Ltd is in the process of applying to Laois County Council for planning permission for a solar farm energy development. The total site area of 67.6 hectares in south Laois at Kilcoran near Rathdowney.
Solar PV panels will be ground mounted on support structures. Internal access tracks, security fencing, electrical cabling and ducting, CCTV, infrastructure and drainage. They are also planning additional landscaping and habitat enhancement are included in the plan to be submitted to the council. The plan also includes two single storey, 38KV electrical substation buildings, and associated infrastructure. An initial plan was submitted to the council in October but this was ruled invalid because it was deemed incomplete.
Vento Ludens has developed wind turbine and solar panel power farms in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK. It generates most of its power from the sun but has a substantial wind farm footprint. They also have a small interest in hydropower.
The company opened its satellite office in Dublin in 2015. At the time it said the South East of Ireland holds great potential for solar developments due to the high solar irradiance experienced here. Their statement added that its Irish move represented an exciting new venture and the company was looking forward to a bright future in Ireland.
Vento Ludens Ltd did win unanimous planning consent for a 16 MW solar farm in Bedfordshire. The Bedford Borough Council’s planning officer recommended the project for approval. The Borough’s Committee then voted in favour of the project on Monday evening 22nd September. The site is approximately 2.5 km south-east of Podington and Hinwick, and is located within the Borough of Bedford. The principal town in the area, Bedford, is located approximately 12 km southeast of their site.