Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
276. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the maximum amount of kw hours that a commercial building including farm building is allowed to produce from photovoltaic panels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28954/13]
There is no legal or regulatory limit on the amount of electricity that may be generated within a commercial or farm building from solar photovoltaic panels. However, if electricity is to be exported to the electricity network, the installation must export power in accordance with the conditions set out in the premises connection agreement with either the Distribution System Operator (DSO), ESB Networks, or the Transmission System Operator (TSO), EirGrid, as appropriate.
277. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if the current rate being paid by Electric Ireland to photovoltaic energy producers is adequate to encourage further production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28955/13]
Electric Ireland has been offering a 9c/kwh feed in tariff, on a commercial basis, to domestic microgenerators (including in the solar photovoltaic category) since February 2009. No other electricity supply company has to date chosen to enter the domestic market and to offer a microgeneration feed-in-tariff on a commercial basis, although the Commission for Energy Regulation invited them to do so. In addition, no company has opted to offer, on a commercial basis, a feed-in-tariff for microgeneration of solar photovoltaic to the commercial and industrial sectors. Previously, a joint ESB/Electric Ireland microgeneration support scheme for the domestic sector offering a total of 19c/kwh (comprising €10c/kwh from ESB Networks combined with the 9c/kwh from ESB Customer Supply (now Electric Ireland)) ran for 3 years from February 2009 to February 2012, and had a take up of between 500 and 600 installations.
In view of falling technology costs, my Department has recently asked the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to update analysis on the costs of varying levels of support for microgeneration technologies, with a view to considering how the sector could be supported in the future. This analysis will also cover non-tariff support mechanisms, the cost of which is not funded from the Public Service Obligation. Financial tax incentives, introduced in 2008, are also available for a wide range of energy efficient equipment through the Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) scheme. The scheme enables companies to claim 100% of the capital cost of certain energy efficient plant and machinery against corporation tax in year of purchase. The range of technologies covered by the ACA scheme has been expanded to cover electricity provision, including photovoltaic systems.