The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine has today (Thursday, June 9), issued a public invitation for written submissions on the use of solar energy in the agricultural industry.

Input by stakeholders as well as interested individuals and groups will form part of a report which the committee now plans to draft.

Submissions can be made until 12:00p.m on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Committee Cathaoirleach, Deputy Jackie Cahill said solar energy can be a win-win for agriculture, offering both economic and carbon-reduction benefits.

The deputy explained:

“Solar energy is a viable option that can offer the agricultural sector an alternative energy source, that will also assist farmers and the wider agri-industry in meeting their future carbon-emission reduction targets.

“In this new era of rising oil and gas prices, it also offers the sector potential savings on high energy costs which are causing such strain for farmers and agri-businesses,” Deputy Cahill said.

However, how solar energy can be implemented in a cost-effective manner remains to be developed between farmers, the agri-sector, the solar-energy industry and the government.

The Oireachtas committee previously met with representatives from Teagasc and the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) to discuss the matter.

Deputy Matt Carthy was asked by the committee to act as a rapporteur and compile a report based on previous discussions held within the sector, and the submissions received.

Deputy Cahill said it is hoped the report will be published later this year.

Following the meeting with Teagasc and the ISEA, the committee has a broader understanding of the potential offered by solar energy, he added.