For Written Answer on : 24/01/2023
Question Number(s): 662 Question Reference(s): 3166/23
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine with reference to his Department’s photovoltaic panel installers registration form, the number of installations which have been inspected for quality control by his Department; the expertise that exists within his Department to carry out such inspections, particularly from a safety and technical perspective; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
A number of facilities and installations in farmyards in receipt of a TAMs grant are subject to inspections by Department staff. The purpose of these inspections is to confirm that the facilities are installed as applied for, in accordance with the requirements of the specifications set by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine. Such specifications include standards that ensure the facilities are installed correctly and safely, and that they are fit for purpose for use by the applicant.
The relevant Department staff have sufficient experience and training in carrying out farmyard inspections insofar as this is work that is regularly carried out by them, while they ensure that the facilities meet the minimum requirements of the Department specifications. Updated training is regularly supplied to TAMS staff where needed. All applicants in receipt of a TAMS grant are subject to a 5% inspection rate.
Safety of the facilities, both at installation phase and for subsequent use by the farmer is of paramount importance and this is evident in the various technical specification, not least specification S198 – Minimum Specification for the Installation of Solar PV Systems. All relevant electrical and structural standards are prescribed in this specification. Furthermore, the solar PV installer, must be registered with the Department, is required to sign off on a testing and commissioning reports that confirms that the system is ready for electricity generation in a safe manner in line with the latest electrical standards applicable. Virtually all the Department’s registered solar PV installers are monitored by the SEAI which has expertise in this area. In addition, the provision of an ETCI certificate by a Safe Electric registered electrician for the works completed is required. This certification process monitors the quality of electrical work completed.