Farmers can now apply for a new scheme which will grant aid some 60pc of the cost of installing solar panels on their farms.
Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue announced the opening of applications for solar panels under new Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS 3).
In order to encourage the purchase of solar investments, thereby reducing dependence on fossil energy by farmers, the solar scheme will be ring-fenced with its own investment ceiling of €90,000 and will be grant aided at the enhanced rate of 60pc.
Minister McConalogue said he prioritised the introduction of solar investments due to rising energy costs, and he also increased the size of the available investments from 11kW to 62kW.
The scheme will enable every farmer to generate their own power for their dwelling and holding and will help to achieve a more sustainable rural economy, assisting farmers in reducing energy costs on their holdings.
“This is the beginning of an exciting and bright future for on-farm energy generation. I know solar TAMS will be of huge interest to farmers and I encourage everyone to look closely at the scheme to see if it will work for them,” said the Minister.
The new Solar Capital Investment Scheme – which is open to applications from today – is part of a range of new farm investment supports announced in recent days.
Notably, farmers may now also include the energy demand of one dwelling house per holding in the sizing of the solar panel array, which will greatly benefit farm families during the current energy crisis.
However, the electricity generated from the panels must be consumed on the applicant’s holding – which includes the dwelling house on the holding for farming purposes. It is not permitted to use the electricity generated for commercial or non-farming consumption or to export the electricity generated (with the exception of use in the applicant’s dwelling house on the holding).
Further, the installation of the solar panel array on the dwelling house is not permitted. The nearest point of a ground-mounted panel array shall be located within 500m of the farmyard. The inverter and ancillary equipment shall be located in the farmyard or next to the panel array.
The Scheme is open to farmers who prior to submitting the online TAMS 3 application have a minimum of 5 hectares of owned, leased or rented lands which has been declared under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) or equivalent in the year of application or preceding year, or in the case of intensive enterprises, generate a minimum of 20 production units from farming. Eligible farmers must also have a Department identifier.