For Oral Answer on : 31/03/2022
Question Number(s): 133 Question Reference(s): 16871/22
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the number of applications to date for solar investments under the TAMS schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
While the overall national energy policy formation is the direct responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) my Department engages with that Department on energy related matters from an agricultural perspective, as well as with a wide range of industry and other stakeholder groupings. Minister Eamonn Ryan, Minister for Environment, Climate Action and Communications launched the microgeneration support scheme in December 2021.
This support scheme provides a range of supports to assist homes and businesses, including farmers to develop renewable generation for self-consumption with the micro-generation enabling framework introduces payments to micro-generators for exported electricity for the first time. This scheme will support the deployment of an expected 380 MW of new micro (50 kW) to support the deployment of rooftop and ground-mounted solar PV. Landowners and farmers in particular will benefit from the move to renewables as set out under Food Vision 2030 – which clearly recognises that the agriculture sector has a key role to play in helping Ireland meet its renewable energy targets.
To encourage on-farm renewable technology uptake and usage, grant aid is provided through TAMS to assist farmers in maximising their contribution to the production of renewable energy through the installation of Solar PV technology along with battery storage on Irish farms. The solar PV systems grant-aided under TAMS include Solar PV Panels and Solar PV Rechargeable Batteries and Solar Panels for water heating under the Pig and Poultry Capital Investment Scheme.
Applications for approval to install solar panels under the TAMS schemes for the solar investments in particular have reached over 240 applications to date. Applications under the TAMS schemes for the solar investments are being received on an ongoing basis. A total of 126 approved applicants have now completed their approved works and have received payment for solar investments to date.
The grant aid under TAMS is available at the standard rate of 40%, with a higher grant rate of 60% available to qualified young farmers. It is proposed that support for renewable energy investments will continue under the new Capital Investment Scheme as part of the CAP Strategic Plan submitted to the EU Commission for approval last December.
I will continue to examine ways to support farmers in this area as it can be another important step to help farmers generate an income while continuing to play a leadership role in the space of renewables.