For Oral Answer on : 25/10/2022
Question Number(s): 87 Question Reference(s): 53220/22
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 203 of 26 May 2022 and No. 133 of 31 March 2022, the progress that has been made to date in supporting farmers to generate renewable energy for their own use or for potential sale to the grid under the TAMS; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy may be aware, TAMS is an On-Farm Investment Scheme which is co-funded by the EU.
TAMS has proven to be a hugely successful and popular scheme. It has driven farmyard impovements in every county of the country.
Under the current EU regulations and under the new CAP Strategic Plan, it is not permitted for excess energy generated by grant-aided investments to be sold to the grid. Energy generated can only be consumed on the holding.
The solar PV systems currently grant-aided under TAMS include Solar PV Panels and Solar PV Rechargeable Batteries and Solar Panels (Solar Thermal) for water heating under the Pig and Poultry Capital Investment Scheme.
I was delighted to recently announce as part of the budget that the electricity consumption of the dwelling house can be included with immediate effect on the solar survey as part of the holding for sizing the Solar PV installation.
The dwelling house must be occupied by the herd owner or family member and situated on the holding. This is now open for applications.
The maximum size of panel eligible for grant aid currently is 62kW for the Pig and Poultry Scheme (PPIS) and 11kW for all other eligible TAMS II schemes. To encourage further increased take-up in solar applications, I am proposing to make further changes to the scheme. This includes increasing the kilowatts for solar applications in TAMS 3 to 30 kilowatts from 11 kilowatts currently. This will bring in more high-energy intensive farms and cover their electricity usage through on-farm generation.
We are also retaining the current limit of 62 kilowatts for the Pigs and Poultry Investment Scheme. Furthermore, it is proposed that the grant rate will increase to a 60% grant and a standalone investment ceiling of €90,000 for solar panels on farms from 2023 onwards.
In a time of rising energy costs, the scheme enables farmer to generate their own power for their dwelling and holding and will help to achieve a more sustainable rural economy, assisting farmers in reducing energy costs on their holdings.
The changes are subject to approval of the Rural Development Plan (RDP) amendment by the European Commission.
It should also be remembered that there are other state supports for the installation of solar panels, including from the SEAI and all farmers should be examining all options for support. This can be installed in tandem with the TAMs investment for those farmers who wish to do this at scale and is a further option for those keen to explore renewable energy generation.
I am excited to see this element of TAMS roll out as it will be good for farmers’ pockets as well as the environment.