The Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF) has welcomed an increase in the rate of grant to support on-farm solar energy installations.

The rate has increased from 40% to 60% under a revised Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) for farmers as part of Budget 2022.

Commenting as details of a revised TAMS supports for on-farm solar emerge this morning, chair of MREF, Pat Smith said:

“The budget allocation of €80 million for on-farm investments through TAMS, which is to include specific supports for solar energy installations, and an increase in the rate of grant to 60% is a welcome development.

“However, the TAMS application process needs to be straightforward and the kilowatt hour restrictions for some farms need to be removed, or increased very significantly.

“All farmers should be able to access this new 60% grant rate, including farmers who may have already reached their spending limit under the current TAMS programme.”

Solar on farms

The MREF has argued that there is enough roof space on farms and businesses in Ireland to accommodate up to 3,000MW of solar powered micro-generation.

This, it said, would deliver the equivalent of €500 million per year in renewable electricity, which would be a huge benefit to rural communities and the country as a whole.

Smith continued: “However, we need to incentivise and support farmers and businesses in making the ‘green shift’ to producing and using renewable power.”

Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe also announced, as part of Budget 2022, a ‘modest disregard’ from personal income tax received by households who sell surplus electricity that they generate through micro-generation.

Pat Smith welcomed the announcement that some of the income received from a feed-in tariff will be tax free.

He said: “An income disregard of €200 will be of some benefit to households, but is likely to be too low for farmers and businesses and should be revisited in the Finance Bill.”