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Ireland opens fixed tariff scheme for small-scale solar projects

27/05/2024    14

The second phase of Ireland’s Small-Scale Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (SRESS) is aimed at local communities and small- and medium-sized enterprises that produce their own electricity.

The government of Ireland has announced the second phase of its SRESS. The latest phase is aimed at community and local projects, or renewable energy communities (REC). It also targets small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) that produce their own solar or wind power, in addition to export-only projects below 1 MW.

The scheme offers a guaranteed feed-in-premium tariff without an auction. Government guidance says successful applicants will receive a premium on the market revenues they receive for their renewable electricity.

Tariff rates for RECs have been set at €150 ($162.70)/MWh for solar projects below 1 MW and €140/MWh for projects between 1 MW and 6 MW. For SMEs, the tariff rates are €130/MWh for solar projects under 1 MW or under and €120/MWh for projects between 1 MW and 6 MW. The scheme has set cheaper tariffs for wind projects.

According to government guidance, the tariff is higher for RECs due to the additional barriers such projects face when establishing planning, grid connection and financing, as well as being a reflection of public policy preference for community involvement in renewable energy projects.

The Irish Solar Energy Association has welcomed the latest phase of the scheme, saying that it “represents a significant opportunity for communities, local businesses and SMEs to drive Ireland’s transition toward renewable energy.”

Conall Bolger, the association’s CEO, also urged stakeholders to prioritize grid connection enhancements to ensure the seamless integration of small-scale generators into our electricity system.

“Grid connections are the lifeblood of renewable energy projects,” he said. “Without prompt and affordable access to our national energy grid, the potential of schemes like SRESS remains untapped.”

The first phase of Ireland’s SRESS opened in 2023 and was aimed at self-consumers above 50 kW and up to 1 MW. A third phase, expected to support all applicant categories, is currently scheduled for 2026.

The Irish government has set a target for 80% of its energy market to come from renewables by 2030.

Source: PV Magazine