News Article

RESS Announced For Irish Solar Market


The Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, T.D. has received Government approval for the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The new Scheme will incentivise the introduction of sufficient renewable electricity generation to meet national and EU-wide renewable energy and decarbonisation targets out to 2030.

In addition, the RESS will deliver broader energy policy objectives including: enhancing security of supply; diversifying the renewable technology mix; and increasing community participation in and benefit from renewable energy projects.

Announcing the new Scheme the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten said: "RESS has been approved by Government and I will now seek EU State Aid approval. This Scheme will mark a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators to a more market-oriented mechanism (auctions) where the cost of support will be determined by competitive bidding between renewable generators. The RESS is a critical step in bringing Ireland to a leadership role in relation to renewable energy, climate action, and energy efficiency. Communities are central to the design of the new Scheme and this will have a transformative impact on renewable energy projects right across the country."

Main Elements of the new Scheme:

Community Participation:

A Community-led category and community capacity building measures will provide opportunities for communities to play their part in Ireland's renewable energy transition.

Projects looking for support under the new RESS will need to meet pre-qualification criteria including offering the community an opportunity to invest in and take ownership of a portion of renewable projects in their local area. A national register of community benefit payments will also be established.

The development of RESS included an in-depth study of international best practice, across Denmark, Germany, Canada and Scotland. These countries are world leaders in community-led renewable electricity projects.

Increasing Technology Diversity:

The new Scheme will help realise the Government's policy objective of enhancing security of supply and broadening the renewable energy mix. As renewable technologies mature and costs fall, Ireland is well placed to take advantage and greatly diversify its renewable portfolio.

Minister Naughten added: "While the auction approach will provide a route to market for multiple technologies, it will do so in a competitive, cost effective framework. The use of certain 'levers', such as near term delivery dates and 'single technology caps', will accelerate the broadening of the renewable technology mix, particularly in light of falling costs for a number of renewable technologies."

Delivering Ireland's contribution to renewable electricity targets out to 2030 and close the gap on 2020 renewable electricity targets:

RESS has been designed to deliver Ireland's contribution towards an EU-wide renewable energy target of 32%, out to 2030, within a competitive auction-based, cost effective framework.

The new scheme is framed within the context of Ireland's effort to meet it's 2020 renewable energy targets and the European Union's Clean Energy Package, in particular the recast Renewable Energy Directive and the development of Ireland's draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

Renewable Electricity Auctions:

RESS auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme. This will allow Ireland to take advantage of falling technology costs and by not auctioning all the required capacity at once, we will not be 'locking in' higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme.

The Scheme will provide for a renewable electricity (RES-E) ambition of up to a maximum of 55% by 2030, subject to determining the cost-effective level which will be set out in the draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

RESS auctions will be designed in line with trajectory targets identified in Ireland's NECP. In addition, the first RESS auction in 2019 will deliver 'shovel ready' projects, reducing the gap to 2020. Ireland's current RES-E target is 40% by 2020. RESS auctions will also assist in the early delivery for our trajectory to 2030.

Further information is available at

RESS Design Paper can be accessed here.

ISEA Statement Welcomes RESS Publication

Support Scheme maps out Ireland's renewables plan to 2030

The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) welcomes the High Level Design Paper on RESS published by the Government on Tuesday 24 July. The proposals furnish positive signals for investment in Ireland across the renewables sector and makes history in providing initial government support for the Irish solar industry.

The design paper sets out a coherent and ambitious program for delivery of renewable energy out to 2030 and highlights the necessity for diversity in the energy mix. This is a key component in achieving energy targets and will deliver value for money for Irish consumers. ISEA also welcomes the proposal that Community will play a central role in the future deployment of renewables in Ireland.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) has advised that ongoing consultation with industry will be required to understand how best to deliver certain aspects of the support scheme. ISEA welcomes continued engagement with the Department to further evolve RESS.

There is more than 1GW of solar PV with planning permission and over 1.5GW with grid contracted or in process, ready to progress with the aid of this support scheme. RESS auctions are scheduled to begin in 2019. ISEA calls on the government to extend the capacity in the first auction to allow more projects receive support on time for completion in 2020. Without extending the capacity in the first auction Ireland is likely to miss 2020 targets.

"Our members have spent a substantial amount of time and resources in developing these projects over the past number of years. Whilst we await some clarification and further detail, we do see RESS as a significant step in the right direction for the Irish renewables industry. As solar PV is the fastest deployable energy technology in the world, our members are looking forward to the prospect of making a major contribution towards achieving Ireland's energy targets." - Michael McCarthy, CEO, ISEA

The document sets out a target of 55% of electricity to be produced by renewable sources by 2030. If this target is achieved, Ireland would once again be viewed as a leader in the field of renewable energy. With the support of RESS, and the imminent SEAI rooftop solar PV grant scheme, the solar industry is expected to generate 7,000 new jobs over the coming years.

ISEA looks forward to working together with all stakeholders; DCCAE, the Commission for Regulation Utilities (CRU), EirGrid and ESB to ensure projects are delivered on time. We would urge the Department to ensure that adequate resources are made available to those tasked with achieving the ambitious targets set out in the High Level Design Paper.

News Update: The Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D. has launched a new scheme to support domestic customers who install solar photovoltaic (solar PV) panels on their homes.

This pilot scheme will support the installation of solar PV panels for the generation and self-consumption of renewable electricity. The scheme will be grant aided and there will be additional grants available to those who install battery storage to capture the electricity they

generate for use at a later date.

Announcing the grants for homeowners, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD said:

"Turning your home into a renewable power station is now one step closer. Micro generation is an incredibly exciting space that will allow citizens in local communities to generate their own electricity and contribute towards Ireland's climate action targets. With this grant that I am announcing today, a typical 3 bed semi-detached house would spend about €1,800 on a solar panel system and would save approximately €220 per year on their electricity bills. The Government is committed to helping citizens reduce their energy use and making clean energy cheaper and affordable to use. The introduction of a grant for household solar PV and further increases to home energy grant amounts demonstrates this commitment."

The Minister added:

"The pilot scheme will be subject to a 6 month review at which time the costs of installation will be assessed and further opportunities to broaden this scheme to other groups and other technologies will be explored."

The scheme will be funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Until recently Ireland's PV development was taking place on Irish rooftops "“ despite the government offering no feed-in tariff or any other kind of support. Of the 10 MW of PV capacity installed in the country to date, the vast majority is rooftop projects. The new grant will accelerate that growth and see more solar on more rooftops in Ireland.

The solar PV grant will help build a stronger supply chain in Ireland and

raise both awareness and experience of micro generation with

homeowners. As we move towards a smarter grid, and a market that

rewards increased participation of individuals and businesses,

programmes such as this will help us to define the best pathway to a

lower carbon future. Alongside the solar PV grant, increases in grant

levels within our homes programmes will help to increase activity in

homeowners reducing their energy demand, which remains the most cost

effective way of enjoying the benefits of a more sustainable home.

Jim Gannon , SEAI Chief Executive

Of the 10 MW of PV capacity installed in the country to date, the vast majority is rooftop projects. The new grant will accelerate that growth and see more solar on more rooftops in Ireland.

SEAI say support is available to all owners of dwellings built and occupied before 2011. The grant is available for all new solar PV installations from Tuesday 31st July 2018.

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