Today, after a long & winding journey, the Government approved a micro-generation scheme to pay the public for excess electricity that they produce and export onto the electricity grid.
This new scheme will allow families, farmers and businesses to install solar panels and small turbines to meet their own needs and to receive a payment for any excess that they generate and export to the grid.
Despite huge opposition to its introduction, I signed Ireland up at EU level, to pay for exported electricity by June 2021. While this has been delayed again, it is great to see its eventual approval by Government and now let’s hope that this payment kicks in early in 2022!
Here are re details:
This table summarizes the supports available under the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS).
This summary table (below) sets out how the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS) fits into the broader electricity generation framework.
|Support Scheme||Who’s it for?||What supports are available?||When are the supports available?|
|Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS)||· Domestic (homes) and non-domestic sites generating up to 5.9kW. This might equate to, for example, up to 18 typical solar panels on the roof of a house.||· Payment per kWh (for surplus electricity ‘exported’ to the grid). This is known as the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG).
· Home-owners will continue to be able to apply to the SEAI for a grant towards the cost of installing equipment. In 2022, the grants will be at the same level per kW as the current SEAI solar PV grant scheme (maximum €2,400).
· Grants for businesses, farms, community buildings such as schools, sports clubs, etc, generating up to 5.9kW will be eligible for an SEAI grant at the same levels as domestic customers. This specific grant will be available later in 2022.
|· Access to the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) will commence early in the New Year.
· SEAI grants are currently available for home-owners, under the existing supports.
|· Larger, non-domestic sites (farms; business properties; community buildings; etc) generating between 6kW and 50kW. This might equate to, for example, between 18 and 150 typical solar panels.||· Set payment per kWh (for surplus electricity ‘exported’ to the grid) paid by suppliers for a set period of 15 years. This is known as the Clean Export Premium (CEP).||· This will be operational in quarter 3 of next year (Q3 2022).|
|Small-scale Generation Support Scheme||· Large businesses, farms, factories, etc, generating over 50kW up to 400kW.
· Community projects up to 1,000kW.
|· Development of the scheme will consider the use of grants and/or tariff payments to support new installations.||· This will be operational in 2023.|
|Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS)||· Large utility-scale generators:
§ From 1MW for solar.
§ From 6MW for onshore wind for developers.
· Community generators:
§ From 1MW to 5MW.
|· A ‘floating’ Feed-in-Premium tariff is awarded to successful projects.||· This is already available. The first RESS auction was completed in September 2020, and the first project became operational in November 2021.|
POINTS OF CONTACT
- For information on the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) / Clean Export Premium (CEP) contact your electricity supplier in the first instance.
- For information on grid connections, contact ESB Networks: ESB Networks / https://esb.ie/our-businesses/esb-networks.
- For information on grants, contact the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI): Home – Sustainable Energy Authority Of Ireland | SEAI / https://www.seai.ie/.
Q&A (QUESTIONS & ANSWERS)
What is the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG)?
The Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) tariff represents the first phase of a comprehensive enabling framework for micro-and small-scale generators in Ireland. It will allow them to receive remuneration from their electricity supplier for all excess renewable electricity exported to the grid. The price paid (per kWh) will be a competitive market rate from their electricity supplier.
Following a public consultation, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) published a decision on an interim enabling framework for the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) on 1st December. The paper is available at: https://www.cru.ie/document_group/remuneration-of-renewables-self-consumers-exported-electricity/. This decision outlines the interim arrangements for the implementation of the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG), including eligibility criteria and the remuneration methodology. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has decided upon a competitive market-based approach to the setting of this tariff, as well as a number of provisions to ensure that its implementation aligns with the National Smart Metering Programme.
Who will be eligible for the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG)?
The Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) will be available to both new and existing micro- and small-scale generators up to 400kW, subject to the eligibility criteria established by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
When will the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) be available?
The Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) will become available upon the transposition of Article 21 of the recast Renewable Energy Directive into Irish law. This is expected to be complete before the end of the year. It will be available to both new and existing micro- and small-scale generators who fulfil the eligibility criteria, as determined by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
How can I avail of the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG)?
You will need to have a suitable ESB Networks export grid connection and a Smart meter, where available.
You can organise an export grid connection through your renewable generation installer or directly through ESB Networks:
- You can apply for an export grid connection up to 6kW single-phase or 11kW three-phase directly through ESB Networks: For more, see this link: Connect a Micro-Generator (esbnetworks.ie).
- ESB Networks introduced a new grid connection application process for generators between 6kW and 50kW on 17th December 2021: For more, see this link: Mini-Generation (esbnetworks.ie).
If you are eligible for a Smart Meter (more than 500,000 are already installed by ESB Networks around the country) you will need to get one installed by ESB Networks to get paid for precisely what you export. Otherwise, you will get paid based on a deemed volume assumption determined by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
You can apply to ESB Networks or your electricity supplier for a prioritised installation of a smart meter. When contacting ESB Networks, you will need your 11-digit MPRN number to hand. This can be found on any electricity supply bill and always starts with ’10’.
When will I get paid the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG)?
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is not setting a date or deadline for the timing of the first payment. You can expect an initial payment or credit from your suppliers within a reasonable time after June 2022. The CRU has asked suppliers to communicate their decision on when initial Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) payments will be made – at the earliest opportunity.
The supplier may offer back-payments in the form of a credit to your account, if this approach is considered to be the most appropriate. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) also expects back-payments to be communicated clearly to customers of each supplier.
Will I have to pay tax on the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) payments?
A tax disregard of €200 was introduced in Budget 2021 in respect of personal income received by households who sell residual renewable electricity, which they generate, back to the grid. This is to allow domestic users have the small amount of revenue that they will earn from micro-generation exempted from tax without placing a burden in front of such citizens in taking steps to help us all in our carbon emission reduction targets. The measure represents an important incentive to citizens who will be integral to the energy transition in the decades ahead.
What is the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS)?
The second phase of the enabling framework will see supports for new installations in the form of a capital grant for domestic and small non-domestic applicants, or a premium export tariff for larger non-domestic applicants.
How much are Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS) supports worth?
- Grant amounts will be €900/kW up to 2kW and an additional €300/kW between 2kW and 4kW in 2022. The maximum total grant in 2022 will be €2,400 – in line with existing SEAI Solar PV grant rates.
- The maximum grant will reduce by €300 on a pro rata basis from 2024 and each year thereafter.
- The Clean Export Premium (CEP) tariff will be €0.135/kWh in 2022 and will reduce by €0.01 from 2024 and each year thereafter.
- The Clean Export Premium (CEP) will be offered at a fixed rate for 15 years, and eligible volumes will be capped at 80% of generation capacity to encourage self-consumption.
- The Clean Export Premium (CEP) will be paid by suppliers. The difference between the wholesale market rate (Clean Export Guarantee) and the Clean Export Premium (CEP) will be funded by the Public Service Obligation (PSO). It is expected that Clean Export Premium (CEP) supports for new installations, installed from 2028 on, will be phased out.
Who will be eligible for the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS)?
- Capital grants are available for domestic applicants. Capital grants are available for on-domestic applicants for installations up to 5.9kW.
- Homes built pre-2021 are eligible.
- Buildings will not have to meet a minimum BER (Building Energy Rating) standard, even after any new equipment is installed, to be included in the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS).
- The Clean Export Premium (CEP) is available to non-domestic applicants for installations from 6kW to
How do I apply for the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS)?
The capital grants are a continuation of the existing grants from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for domestic applicants, which will transition into the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS) grant from January 2021. Applications can be made at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website (Solar Electricity PV Grants | Home Energy Grants | SEAI). The third phase of the enabling framework will see the extension of the grant scheme to non-domestic applicants up to 5.9kW in the Summer of 2022. This will be administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Finally, the introduction of the Clean Export Premium (CEP) tariff will commence when a payment mechanism is determined by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) in Q3 2022. Applications for the Clean Export Premium (CEP) will be managed by energy suppliers. Further details will be available closer to the time in 2022.