Ireland holds firm on 8 GW of solar by 2030 target


The Irish government said this week that it expects to install 8 GW of solar by 2030. The government said PV should reach existing levels of onshore wind – roughly 4.5 GW – by the mid-late decade.

The comments were published in Ireland’s strategy to achieve energy security, “Energy Security in Ireland to 2030.” Under the auspices of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, the government said that Ireland will hit the 8 GW target through existing instruments, such as the RESS and microgeneration supports, as well as a new initiative, the SRESS, to be rolled out next year.

Conall Bolger, CEO of the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA), recently criticized the RESS scheme to pv magazine for its “high rate” of project attrition. According to his calculations, 1,534 MW of solar was awarded in the latest round (RESS 2) but there have not been enough project announcements to suggest finalization.

SRESS, to be launched next year, aims to support larger non-domestic renewables self-consumers, such as farms, public buildings, commercial and industrial entities, the government said in another report. The scheme would also provide “a route to market” for renewable energy communities and other small-scale solar PV developments of up to 6 MW installed capacity.

“SRESS will have an important role in ensuring the security of Ireland’s electricity supply into the future, by both enabling energy users to produce their own renewable electricity for their own use – and thereby reduce demand on the electricity network – and providing a route to market for small-scale renewable electricity generators,” the government said in the document.

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SRESS will be divided into two streams. The first will be a grant to develop renewable self-consumers from 50 kW up to 1 MW. The second is a floating feed-in-tariff premium scheme without an auction for community, local and small and medium-sized enterprise projects between 1 MW and 6 MW. It would also include export-only projects below 1 MW.

The Irish government established the goal of 8 GW solar installed capacity by 2030 last year when the published its “Climate Action Plan 2023”.

In Ireland around 680 MW of solar power has been deployed across 59,888 generators, according to a recent report by ISEA. Most of this capacity originates from seven large-scale plants surpassing 5 MW totaling 349 MW. Roughly 208 MW comes from microgeneration solar arrays encompassing systems of up to 12 kW.

The Irish government aims for 80% of its energy market to come from renewables by 2030.

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