Farmers encouraged to engage in public Consultation on renewable electricity scheme

Social Democrats TD for Wicklow Jennifer Whitmore is encouraging farmers in Wicklow to get involved in the upcoming public consultation process on micro-generation in Ireland. The consultation is being carried out by the Department of Environment and will feed into the design of a new scheme to allow homeowners, farmers and communities to generate their own renewable energy and sell it back to the grid.

Deputy Whitmore as Party Spokesperson on Climate Action says…

“I welcome the opportunity for the public to engage on this long-awaited process and believe that it will be particularly important for farmers who have indicated a desire to put solar panels on their land to generate renewable electricity. Currently only large producers of electricity like wind farms and solar farms can sell excess power to the grid. This new scheme could allow farmers to sell any excess power they might have over and above what they might use, to the grid as well. This consultation will help inform this scheme which can help to incentivise farmers to generate their own renewable energy as well as income.

“There are many benefits for farmers taking up solar farming. A typical solar power plant only takes up a small portion of farmland. Farming can continue between and underneath the solar PV module. Solar PV farming can meet on-site electricity needs for heating, feeders, ventilation and process energy.

“However, there are currently too many barriers for farmers looking into this project including pricing, costs and the inability to sell back to the grid. With input from farmers, I believe this scheme can be designed to enable them to generate electricity and income as well as engage in climate action. 

“We’ve a long way to go and as a country we have lost many years of opportunity in this sector however, I would encourage as many farmers to get involved in this important public consultation process so that the design of the scheme can meet their needs as well as those of our climate” concludes Whitmore.

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