Ministers Eamon Ryan and Simon Coveney have announced enhanced supports for businesses purchasing solar panels through the Solar PV Scheme.
Improved funding ranges from €2,700 to up to €162,600 to support an even wider range of businesses to switch to solar.
This will typically support 20-30% of the investment cost, reducing payback to five years, according to the ministers.
The government approved amendments to the existing non-domestic microgeneration scheme to extend supports to a wider range of businesses and non-domestic applicants.
This will be done through tiered grant supports for solar PV – for installation sizes greater than 6 kWp up to 1,000 kWp (1 MW) capacity.
It will also be available for public buildings, sports clubs and community organisations. An installation size of 1,000 kWp equates to approximately 2,500 solar PV panels, which could be accommodated on a large factory or warehouse rooftop.
The proposal will see funds provided by way of transfer from the allocation for the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS).
The amended scheme will operate on an introductory basis to the end of 2023 following which it will be assessed and subject to the normal budgetary process into 2024/2025.
SEAI will implement the necessary changes and will open for applications under the amended scheme guidelines in mid-July.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said: “We have removed planning permission requirements to install solar panels, and we’ve reduced the VAT to 0% for the supply and installation of solar panels on homes.
“It is vital that business are now afforded the same opportunity to start their energy transition journey and are able to participate in schemes that give people more control over when and how they use electricity.”
Pat Smith, chairman of the Micro Renewable Energy Federation, commented: “The focus should now move to removing any remaining delays or blockages in managing the distribution system to allow the widespread adoption of renewable power.
“This should include quicker grid access agreements from ESB Networks and attractive KWH payments for surplus energy generated by businesses, farms and homes.
“Any business, farm or home with a solar PV installation should to be prioritised for a smart meter so that energy exported can be accurately measured and paid for.”
Conall Bolger, chief executive of the Irish Solar Energy Association, said the new grants will incentivise more businesses to join the “solar revolution”.
“The potential is substantial. Unleashing the commercial rooftop sector could make an impact on our renewable electricity targets,” said Bolger.
“A new EU directive will introduce requirements for large buildings to install solar in the years ahead. We welcome that government is showing leadership by offering incentives before this is a requirement.”