The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is changing the terms and conditions of its photovoltaic (PV) grant amounts in a bid to encourage homeowners to install medium sized systems and get them to invest in lower cost energy upgrades first, such as insulation.
Homeowners wishing to avail of the PV grant as it stands have until the 19th December 2019 to apply, but must have all works completed and documentation submitted by the 31st January 2020.
Applications under the new system will open on 7th January 2020. The changes as announced by the SEAI on December 5th 2019 are as follows:
- To be eligible for the grant the home energy performance post-works must be a Building Energy Rating of C or better as some homeowners were installing solar PV on homes with very low building energy ratings. Poorer performing homes will typically benefit more from insulation or heating upgrades and grants for these measures are also available from SEAI. Oftentimes solar PV is not the best first choice for a home energy upgrade.
- Support for 0-2kWp of solar will increase to €900 per kWp installed to steer homeowners to smaller systems with higher levels of self-consumption.
- Support for 2-4kWp of solar will decrease to €300 per kWp installed to discourage applicants from installing larger capacity systems than they need; the SEAI says people are installing 2.8kWp systems on average whereas less than 2kWp is appropriate for the average Irish home.
- Support for battery installation will decrease to €600 as the price for battery systems has dropped considerably from starting price of over €3,000 to now around €2,000.
- The scheme will transition from a rebate post works approach to a more traditional pre-works application / grant offer model.
The SEAI says the changes follow a review of the scheme’s operation and uptake over the past 16 months. They are part of the continued evolution of the solar PV scheme, ahead of a transition to the enduring support scheme for microgeneration enabling homeowners and businesses to generate their own electricity, as envisaged in the Climate Action Plan.
This means the subsidy for the solar panel components remains unchanged for consumers producing up to 3 kWp which is beyond the capacity of the average Irish home, decreasing only after that point. So, for example, someone installing a typical 2kWp system will receive a €1,800 grant. While someone installing a larger 4kWp system with a battery will receive a €3,000 grant. An appropriately sized system will typically pay back the cost, net of grant, in around ten years.
Since the scheme started, over €3.5 million in grants have been paid towards over 1,500 domestic PV systems with an installed capacity of over 5,000 kWp. In the same period, the number of registered PV installers has increased from 13 to over 100, with new companies continuing to register with the scheme.