The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) aims to build on a successful year for the Irish solar industry and maximise its contribution to a clean and resilient economy.
2020 has been a year of immense success and progress for the Irish solar industry. The first auction of the long-awaited Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) took place in July. Close to 800MW across 63 solar projects, including community-owned, were awarded contracts. We expect installation of these projects to begin next year. Delivery timeframes will largely be dictated by grid lead times. ISEA and its members look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to ensure successful delivery of these projects.
Ireland has now missed 2020 energy targets; however, the next 10 years present a great opportunity for the Irish renewable industry to achieve 2030 targets. Ireland can accelerate progress by taking learnings from other EU nations and their journey towards net zero. Solar holds a unique advantage as it is the fastest deployable renewable technology in the world bar none. It will play a vital role in achieving energy targets and the industry is prepared to make a substantial contribution to them.
2020 has been a tumultuous year with every industry adapting to the conditions brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite some negative impacts, 2020 has been a successful year for the renewable industry. The UK saw record-breaking solar output in April, meeting almost 30 per cent of the UK’s total demand. In Ireland wind energy produced more electricity than gas for the first time ever in the year’s first quarter. As we look towards a post-Covid environment, the government must invest in a clean economy. A green recovery will provide employment opportunities and make our economy more resilient to climate change.
A diverse and secure energy mix is critical to achieving a clean Irish electricity network. Wind and solar, with their complementary profiles, will be cornerstones to this transition, alongside batteries. RESS-1 results demonstrate that solar is now cost-competitive with onshore wind. The technology is forecasted to continue to reduce in cost while at the same time improving. This means that solar can achieve increasingly competitive pricing in subsequent RESS auctions and deliver superior returns on investment.
ISEA is ready to build on the success achieved by the solar industry this year. Progress will be spearheaded by our new CEO who will be appointed in January 2021. Our work will be focused on representing our members through our engagement with policymakers to maximise the contribution of the solar industry to a clean and resilient economy. We will engage with government to secure a roadmap for subsequent auctions and to ensure the design of the second auction delivers the greatest value to the consumer.
The industry also awaits the outline of a microgeneration scheme to incentivise the installation of rooftop and small-scale solar projects across Ireland. With this scheme in place, every home, school, business, and farm can receive support for their decarbonisation efforts. This scheme will also empower the energy citizen to take part in the clean energy revolution already underway across the country.
To learn more about ISEA’s work or enquire about membership, get in touch with our team today.
T: +353 46 977 3434