Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (233)

Brian Stanley


233. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of a pilot project for a rooftop solar support scheme; the timeframe for its introduction; the amount of grant aid to be provided; if there is a limit on the number of applicants; his plans to extend this scheme to other microgeneration technologies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7688/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

On foot of the October 2017 stakeholder workshop hosted by my Department and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) along with further engagement with the micro generation industry, I have asked the SEAI to conduct a short study to assess the likely demand for and impact of micro generation, among the public. It is important that before we deploy further public money we validate the demand and projected cost in an Irish context.

The proposed pilot scheme which I announced at the recent Renewable Energy Summit will commence this summer and will target solar PV and self-consumption amongst domestic customers. The data gathered during this scheme and throughout the behavioural and attitudes study will inform future phases of support for micro generation in Ireland, as we align with the ambition of the recast Renewable Energy Directive which recognises the rights, entitlements and obligations of renewable self-consumers and deliver on ambitions and commitments made in the Energy White Paper and the Programme for Government.

Further details of the pilot scheme for domestic rooftop solar PV self-consumption will be made available when I have received the study being undertaken  by the SEAI and have had a  opportunity to consider its analysis. I intend that the final decision will be made in sufficient time to allow the scheme to commence this summer.

As set out in the National Mitigation Plan, a very significant increase in effort is required to realise the potential of the residential sector to contribute to the low carbon transition. Improving the energy efficiency of a home so that it needs less energy to maintain levels of comfort is a prerequisite for moving off fossil fuels for heating to less energy intensive renewable energy options. This is why I have been providing additional funding to include deeper energy efficiency measures, combined with renewable technologies, in the range of supports for residential energy efficiency operated by SEAI. Already, solar PV is supported under the Better Energy  Communities Scheme and the Deep Retrofit Pilot. Crucial to these schemes is the advice and technical support available to groups of householders and businesses to undertake these measures and embrace renewable technologies.