A 20% increase in the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) reference costs for solar PV investment on farms means that “farmers can secure a full 40% grant on all of their costs for solar PV” the Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF) says.

Welcoming the increase today (Thursday, July 29), MREF chairman Pat Smith said:

“This increase in TAMS reference costs has been long overdue. The original reference prices fell short of the actual installation costs on farms.

“The new reference pricing allows farmers [to] secure a full 40% grant on all of their costs for solar PV and battery storage.

“This, coupled with a VAT refund on solar PV installation costs and the option to avail of 100% accelerated capital tax allowances in the year that the expenditure takes place, makes solar PV an excellent on-farm investment for farmers.

“A solar PV system install is a hedge against rising energy costs – with the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions in the business as well.”

Smith called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to review and remove “other unnecessary restrictions” associated with a TAMS grant scheme for solar PV.

He cited the example that “there is no justification for limiting the amount of solar PV that will be grant aided under the TAMS scheme to just 11kW, as on many farms a much higher amount is justified”.

Smith said there needs to be a dedicated solar PV grant support scheme for farm businesses, adding:

“Under the current TAMS scheme, many thousands of farmers are excluded from applying for grant supports for solar PV as they have already reached the limit on their TAMS entitlements, or they are being excluded through other unnecessary restrictions within the current TAMS scheme.”

Continuing, Smith said:

“Farm families can play a very significant role in delivering a vibrant micro-generation sector in every parish across Ireland.

“It is now time to put the supports in place to assist the farming and wider community in realizing this opportunity on behalf of the country.

“There is enough roof space on farms and businesses in Ireland to accommodate up to 3,000MW of solar powered micro-generation – and deliver the equivalent of €500m per year in renewable electricity which will be a massive benefit to rural communities and the country as a whole.

“It does not make sense that thousands of acres of roof space on Irish farms are not being effectively used to help meet our climate action goals, while thousands of acres of good land, that can be used for farming are being earmarked for solar PV installations backed mainly by multi-national pension funds,” the MREF chairman conlcuded.

The new reference prices are €1,253/kwp of solar PV + €1608 and for battery storage €703/kwh + €753.