Ireland to pay homes and businesses for excess renewable energy

21 Dec 2021

Image: © Philip Steury/

The scheme will allow homes and businesses to receive payment for any excess renewable energy they export to the grid.

A new incentive for homes and businesses to develop renewable energy sources has been announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD.

The Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS) will allow homes, businesses, farms and communities to receive a payment for any renewable energy they export to the grid. Combined with grants to develop renewable energy by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), it is hoped this scheme will help Ireland reach its target in solar renewable energy.

The Government approved the scheme today (21 December) and plans to launch the support early next year for homes and businesses across Ireland.

This scheme aims to help generate 380MW of installed micro-generation capacity to contribute to the target of up to 2.5GW of solar renewables in Ireland under the Climate Action Plan. That equates to more than 1m solar panels on approximately 70,000 buildings.

Ryan said this new micro-generation scheme is an “important step in our energy transition journey” and is part of the Government’s plan to develop supports for people to install renewable energy for their own consumption.

“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.”

The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) welcomed the announcement, adding that it has the potential to be among the most impactful climate measures introduced this decade.

ISEA CEO Conall Bolger said: “At a time when energy bills are soaring this will empower many more people to reduce their costs and dependency on energy markets.”

Planned incentives

When it launches, the MSS will be available for domestic and non-domestic sites that generate up to 5.9kW in renewable energy, which translates to roughly 18 solar panels on the roof of a house.

Those under the scheme will receive payment at a competitive market rate for any surplus electricity that is exported to the grid, known as the Clean Export Guarantee.

SEAI grants of up to €2,400 are available to homeowners who wish to install solar panels, with grants for businesses, farms and community buildings expected to be available later in 2022.

Bolger said the solar technology is available for households and farmers to engage with this scheme but worries about potential bottlenecks in Ireland’s electricity network.

“One of the biggest risks is ESB Networks. They must be primed to connect every single customer-scale generator within a consistent and reasonable timeframe. The delays that have been experienced by solar projects to date can no longer be an option.”

Larger, non-domestic sites like farms and companies that generate between 6kW and 50kW (18 to 150 solar panels) will be offered a set payment for any excess electricity they export to the grid, for a period of 15 years.

This is known as the Clean Export Premium (CEP), which the State plans to have operational in the third quarter of 2022. The price for electricity under the CEP is currently planned at €0.135 per kWh for 2022 and 2023.

Another project linked to support Ireland’s renewable electricity generation is the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), an auction-based scheme that first launched in 2020, with a second auction announced earlier this year.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic