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 an 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. Already, solar PV is supported under the Better Energy Communities Scheme and the Deep Retrofit Pilot.
Additionally, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government currently supports local authorities in an ambitious plan to improve the energy efficiency and comfort levels in local authority homes, benefitting those at risk of fuel poverty and contributing to Ireland’s carbon emissions reduction and energy efficiency targets for 2020. Funding of some €115.7 million has been provided from 2013 to the end 2017 to improve energy efficiency and comfort levels in almost 64,000 local authority homes. Under this Programme, tenants do not apply for a grant to undertake works, rather the Council identifies the units to be retrofitted and undertakes the works with funding provided by the Department.