‘200,000 solar PV installations is a realistic target for Ireland by 2025’

A total of 200,000 solar PV installations is a realistic target for Ireland by 2025, the Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF) has claimed.

The federation explained that recently-published industry data shows that in excess of one million domestic and commercial roof top installations have been completed in the UK and that one in 10 homes in Belgium are equipped with a PV solar system.

This provides a “strong indication” of the likely demand for PV installations in Ireland, “once effective Government supports are put in place”, MREF added.

Commenting on the matter, joint chair of the MREF Pat Smith said: “Extrapolating actual market demand for solar PV in other EU countries to Ireland reveals very impressive numbers for the potential size of the market here and the shift towards sustainable energy use that this will entail.

Clearly Government supports for micro generation will be essential to ensure this is realised and that economic returns stack up for homes and businesses.

Smith outlined that the announcement from the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, that he intends to have a pilot support scheme for domestic energy users in place by the summer has been widely welcomed.

He encouraged the minister to ensure that the supports offered are sufficient to encourage investment and that the terms and conditions applying are reasonable and available to the widest number of homes possible.

As well as this, Smith said that business owners and farmers also expect that a support scheme would be extended for them and he encouraged Minister Naughten to act on this.

“It is only fair and reasonable that the PSO levy payers of the country are directly supported and encouraged to actively participate in adopting renewable energy generation to help the country meet its carbon reduction challenges,” he said.

Electric cars

Meanwhile, Smith also highlighted “a very serious issue” yet to be addressed as the Government encourages the wider adoption of electric cars.

He warned that, as things stand, many Irish households do not have the electricity load capacity to charge an electrically-powered car while also using other electrical appliances – such as electric showers – in the home at the same time.

Charging an electric car can increase the weekly electricity demand by as much as 50% and the last thing that any home owner wants is a power cut due to a capacity overload.

“Roof top or ground-mounted PV solar for self-consumption is one way of addressing this risk. The technology is now available to intelligently direct surplus electricity generated from roof top solar towards charging electric cars,” Smith added.