Business

Friday 2 December 2016

Solar energy needs State-backed subsidy - ISEA

Published 14/06/2016 | 08:58

A lobby group says solar energy subsidies could help create 7,300 jobs and let 70,000 homes generate their own power
A lobby group says solar energy subsidies could help create 7,300 jobs and let 70,000 homes generate their own power

The Irish government needs to introduce a support mechanism for solar energy, which is the only renewable energy technology that doesn't qualify for a subsidy in Ireland, the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) has said.

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The association also said the deployment of solar power in Ireland would lead to the creation of more than 7,300 high-value jobs across the nation as well as save the State from €300m worth of annual fines from 2020.

The ISEA said a commercial rooftop installation in the south east generated 16,000 units of electricity. Using this scale the association said an established solar sector with a 2GW capacity would have produced 7pc of  the country's total electricity needs.

Ireland is set to miss renewable energy targets set out by the European Union where it has committed to generating 40pc of electricity from renewable sources.

ISEA chairman David Maguire said the country is facing a "real challenge" to meet the targets and avoid fines.

"Despite the successful deployment of wind energy in Ireland, which enjoyed considerable state support, wind alone will not ensure that we reach that goal.

"However solar, which is a material part of the established solution for other countries in Europe, is still in its embryonic state here.  We are ready to deploy immediately and just need a support mechanism similar to that afforded to other technologies in order to kick-start the sector.”

In the UK, solar power generation outstripped coal-fired power stations for the month of May while in Germany, at a comparable latitude to Ireland, the sector provides in the region of 7pc of national energy requirements from a combination of ground mount solar ‘farms’ and rooftop systems on industrial buildings and domestic homes.

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