The most recent Energy in Ireland report which covered the period up to end 2017 was published in December 2018 by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Renewables, including wind (25%) generated around 30.1% of Ireland's electricity in 2017, with the other main sources being gas at 51%, coal 12% and peat 7%.
The SEAI estimates that there were 15.7 MW of installed solar PV capacity in Ireland at the end of 2017: 11.9 MW in the residential sector and 3.8 MW in the commercial/industrial sector. The SEAI further estimates that 11 GWh of electricity was generated from solar PV in 2017, representing 0.1% of renewable electricity or 0.04% of electricity gross final consumption.
I have recently set out a new ambition for Ireland, of reaching 70% renewable electricity by 2030, and details on how this will be delivered will be contained in the soon to be launched All of Government Climate Action Plan. The Plan will set out the necessary policy measures to help meet our 2030 target and will put Ireland on a clear pathway to meeting our 2050 objectives. This will require both public and private investment, and large societal shifts in technology, attitude and behaviour. It will also involve a shift in which renewable technologies we support and a shift towards a more distributed generation system, including community participation and a focus on micro generation and the energy ‘prosumer’.
In July 2018, my Department launched a new micro-generation scheme to support domestic customers who install solar photovoltaic panels in their homes. The pilot scheme, which is administered by the SEAI, will be subject to a review in the coming months 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. Potential future phases of support for micro-generation in Ireland may include a tariff, as we align with the ambition of the recast Renewable Energy Directive which recognises the rights, entitlements and obligations of renewable self-consumers.
To date, over 3,000 applicants have expressed an interest and approximately 275 rebate claims are in process for payment by the SEAI who are administering the scheme on behalf of my Department.