Ireland outlines net metering scheme for solar and renewables


The Irish Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Communications has launched a public consultation on its proposed Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS), a new mechanism aimed at supporting the deployment of power generators based on renewable energy and not exceeding 50 kW in size.

The scheme replaces the pilot scheme for PV micro generation which expired in January 2020, under which 4,353 projects, totaling 15 MW, were implemented, and is expected to come into force in July.

It will be open to both rooftop and small ground-mounted solar, wind, micro-hydro, and micro combined heat and power (CHP) facilities and will enable the system owners to sell excess electricity to the grid. Projects developed under this regime may also have access to the rebate schemes such as the Domestic Solar PV and Better Energy Communities schemes operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and TAMS II, operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Eligible projects must have a minimum self-consumption rate of 70%. “We are developing a micro generation support scheme which will support new micro generation deployment, deliver a route to market for citizens and communities to generate their own renewable electricity, like from solar panels on their roofs, and receive a fair price when they sell the excess into the grid,” said minister Eamonn Ryan.

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The consultation process will be closed on February 18.

Ireland has had a limited development of solar energy development to date. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the country had only 36 MW of installed PV capacity at the end of 2019. Fossil fuels still meet around half of Ireland’s power demand.

The Irish government is currently supporting large scale PV through an auction scheme launched at the end of 2019. In the first procurement exercise – launched in April and finalized in August – the Irish authorities allocated 796 MW of solar generation capacity.

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