For Oral Answer on : 08/12/2022
Question Number(s): 142 Question Reference(s): 61221/22
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the way his Department ensures that such works with respect to the installation of PV solar panels funded by Department payments are carried out in a safe manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Farm Safety is always an integral part of any scheme administered by my Department. Minister of State Martin Heydon has specific responsibility for farm safety and has done an excellent job in this space.
Grant aid is provided through Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) for the installation of Solar PV technology along with battery storage on Irish farms. This aid assists 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 terms and conditions of TAMS state that all Solar installation must meet the minimum specification outlined in S.198 which is available on my Department’s website. Adherence to the requirements of this specification is a condition of grant aid. The specification provides for the installation of a fit for purpose solar PV system that delivers for the applicant.
The application of the latest safety standards at installation stage is prioritised in this specification and is evident to see when reading the document.
Furthermore, my Department has drawn up a list of eligible and competent installers to carry out the necessary work. All such installers have been verified individually as to their competency in carrying out such installations to the latest standards in the technical and electrical area. It is also a requirement that they have the appropriate level of employers and public liability insurance cover.
Prior to considering installing a Solar PV system, a registered installer must carry out a Solar PV Energy Survey of the farm enterprise which must be included with the application for grant-aid.
When approval has been granted, the following criteria shall be met
• All systems installed shall comply with this specification and where relevant the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Code of Practice for Installers (referred to hear after as the code of practice for installers).
• All works shall be completed by a registered installer on the Department’s Solar PV Approved Installer List (S.198A), available on the Department’s website.
• The electrical works shall be completed by a Safe Electric Ireland / RECI electrician. • Only the use of newly fitted materials and new products is permitted.
• Applicants shall complete an ESB Networks NC6 form for the application for a connection to the electricity distribution system for a microgenerator.
Failure to adhere to these conditions will lead to withholding of grant-aid.