New research has found that solar panels on homes and businesses can make a significant contribution to Ireland’s switch to clean energy.
The cost-benefit analysis, by climate policy expert Joseph Curtin, was commissioned by Friends of the Earth in advance of the Government’s new support scheme for renewable electricity, which is due to go to public consultation in the coming days.
Joseph Curtain, author of the report, said: “Electricity bills would be reduced by allowing householders to generate their own electricity, but they must also be able to sell to the grid what they cannot use themselves.”
“To control overall costs to Government, we propose that the scheme is initially capped at 50,000 householders. The scheme we propose would likely be broadly attractive, and not just for the wealthy,” he added.
The study finds that support for solar power on 50,000 homes can be done at a reasonable cost and in a fair way, and addresses a number of concerns about small-scale solar.
Friends of the Earth says it means the Taoiseach and the Minister for Environment must keep their promise to support solar power for ordinary citizens not just big business.
Director of Friends of the Earth, Oisin Coghlan, said: “This research shows that paying households for the solar electricity they generate can be done at a reasonable cost and in a fair way. Now is the opportunity for the Taoiseach and the Minister to deliver”
“We’re really concerned that some economists with no interest in public participation, and big power companies who want to keep the market to themselves, are telling the Government not to pay households and communities for the electricity they generate. To leave it to the ‘big boys’ to provide Ireland’s renewable energy.
“We have the seen the limits of that strategy with wind power. We don’t want to repeat the same mistake with solar energy,” he added.