Ireland needs rooftop PV incentive scheme, report shows

A new report by climate expert Joseph Curtin, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, presents evidence for the introduction of a support scheme for residential solar PV electricity in Ireland, suggesting that a generation tariff of €0.09 ($0.1) to €0.10 ($0.11) combined with an export tariff of €0.066 ($0.08) would be sufficient to incentivize deployment of rooftop solar, particularly for early adopters.

Meanwhile, cost-effectiveness can be managed by capping the overall quantity of support available at 150 MW by 2030, which can be offered to homeowners on a first-come, first-served basis.

Proposed support scheme for residential rooftop solar PV

Generation tariff€ 0.09 – 0.10
Export tariff€ 0.066
Installed capacity (MW, 2030)150

Furthermore, the report finds that if restricted to 50,000 rooftops by 2030, the additional cost to the Public Services Obligation (PSO) would be relatively insignificant (€12.5 ($14.8) – €13.8 ($16.4) million per annum), whereas the benefits of supporting rooftop solar deployment would be multiplied.

In regard to the attractiveness of the level of support offered, the report says that with a generation tariff of €0.10 ($0.11), the scheme would offer a 10-year simple payback for the householder.

Addressing further anti-solar arguments, the report goes on to evaluate the design of other support schemes, such as the one in the U.K., noting that detailed analysis of costs and benefits found the grid services provided by domestic generation (e.g. peak shaving) to be substantial.

In terms of the cross-subsidization of bill payers, it is highlighted that there is no difference between professional developers and rooftop generators, and that there is no evidence that only rich households invest in rooftop solar PV.

In conclusion, the report points out that Ireland should be preparing for a flexible modern networked grid of the future, as solar PV is meant to account for nearly 6% of electricity production by 2050 in a scenario where national and EU objectives are met at the lowest possible cost.

Currently, Ireland has an installed grid-connected PV capacity of around 6 MW, which is almost entirely on rooftops, according to the report titled Ireland’s Solar Value Chain Opportunity recently published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.