The “Micro-generation Support Scheme” Export Payments
Selling surplus solar energy to the grid is a great way to earn extra income from your solar panels. What could be better than getting a cheque, rather than a bill, from your electricity supplier? So read on and watch the video below to learn how you can earn money by selling your surplus solar energy to the grid in Ireland…
What We Know About the Export Payment So Far
The export payment was scheduled to start in July 2021. However, it has now been delayed until “H2 2021”. Homeowners, businesses, farmers, and non-profits will all be able to participate. The plan is for the scheme to have two parts:
1: Smart Export Guarantee
- The Smart Export Guarantee will be available to everybody, no matter when your solar panels were installed
- Based on the market value of the electricity you export to the grid
- Paid to you by your electricity supplier
- No cap on the amount of electricity you can sell
2: Clean Export Premium Tariff
- Only for solar panel systems installed from H2 2021
- This will be a bonus payment on top of the smart export guarantee
- To be funded through the public service obligation (PSO) levy
- Payments are capped at 30% of the electricity you generate
- Maximum system size of 50kW
Can I get the solar panel grant now and also sell power to the grid in the future?
Yes. You can get a grant of up to €3,000 by installing solar panels now. You will then have your solar panels in place and be ready to sell surplus electricity from late 2021 under the Smart Export Guarantee. However, the SEAI grant scheme will end once the Clean Export Premium Tariff begins. So, if you want to take advantage of the SEAI solar panel grant and the Smart Export Guarantee, then make sure to do it soon! Enter your Eircode below to get started:
I’m thinking of getting solar panels. Should the possibility of future export payments affect the system design?
Yes. You should design your solar energy system with the Smart Export Guarantee in mind to gain the greatest benefit from the scheme.
Firstly, get lots of panels! With the Smart Export Guarantee, you can rest assured that your surplus energy will bring you benefits. Extra panels will also future-proof your system for increased electricity demands like heat pumps and electric cars. Best of all, large solar panel systems give you the best bang for your buck. Therefore, most Irish households should be aiming for at least 6 kW of panels, ideally 9 kW.
If a large solar panel array is out of your budget for now, consider installing an extra-large inverter. An extra-large inverter gives you flexibility to simply “plug in” more solar panels at a later time. Give this option special consideration if you have lots of roof space.
Finally, the export payment means that batteries will not be necessary going forward. This is because selling surplus power to the grid will be more convenient and far more cost-effective than storing it. By avoiding the cost of a battery, you can install way more panels, boosting the energy available for your own use and to sell. If you’re scared to lose the option of battery storage, then consider installing a hybrid inverter. This makes it easy to add a battery to your system at a later date if desired.
The Catch: Smart Meter Delays
Smart meters will be used to measure the surplus electricity that you export to the grid. So, to avail of the smart export guarantee, you will need to have a smart meter installed. That’s all very well if you already have a smart meter (as do all new houses). However, the only way for existing houses to get a smart meter is through the ESB Networks rollout, and the timeline varies. Here are the details:
According to the Irish government, the way you request a smart meter depends on your electricity meter type:
Single-Tariff 24-Hour Meters
If you have single unit rate that you pay 24 hours, you can call ESB Networks on 01 698 5005 and ask to be prioritized for your smart meter installation. They will then put you to the top of the queue in your area. This is great if your area is high on the list for the smart meter rollout. But you could be waiting a long time if your area is near the bottom of the list: The last smart meters are scheduled for installation in 2024. Hopefully, the process will be updated to allow all solar households to avail of smart metering once the export payment begins, but there is not guaranteed.
Smart meters are currently being rolled out in counties Dublin, Cork, Laois, Louth, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Limerick, Sligo, Leitrim, Carlow and Kilkenny. New areas of Dublin and counties Clare, Donegal and Mayo are next on the list.
Dual-Tariff Day/Night Meters
If you have day/night metering, you’ll need to contact your electricity supplier to request a smart meter. This is because traditional day/night tariffs will not be available with smart meters. Instead, you will be offered the more modern time-of-use tariffs. Therefore, you’ll need to agree on a time-of-use tariff plan with your electricity supplier before your smart meter goes in. Your electricity supplier will then request a smart meter on your behalf. Unfortunately, the same potential delays apply here as for customers on 24-hour tariffs.
Compare Solar Panel Quotes From Ireland’s Best Installers
Now is the time to install solar, so you can take advantage of the €3,000 grant and the export payment. Enter your eircode below to get 3 solar panel quotes today!