Ireland could install nearly 4GW of solar by 2030, adding more than €2 billion to its economy and creating more than 7,000 jobs, with modest policy support, a new report produced by KPMG has claimed.
An announcement from Ireland’s energy authority on future renewable energy subsidies is set to be made before the end of the year however KPMG’s ‘A Brighter Future’ report outlines what could be achieved.
The report has been produced on behalf of the Irish Solar Energy Association and claims that 3.7GW of solar could be deployed by 2030 across utility, commercial and residential sectors should support be extended to the technology.
For Ireland to meet a target of generating 40% of its electricity demand from renewables sources by 2030 an extra 6TWh of renewable electricity will be required annually. Half of that is expected to come from wind, and the report outlines how the remaining half could be met with solar.
It calls on Ireland’s government to introduce a feed-in tariff scheme for both domestic and commercial rooftop installations while opening up a Contracts for Difference-styled capacity auction for large-scale projects.
It has suggested an opening feed-in tariff rate for domestic installations of €0.13/kWh to come into effect in 2017, as well as an undetermined export tariff. This rate would fall to €0.06/kWh by 2023 and €0.02/kWh in 2030.
Larger commercial rooftop installations would receive a more stringent tariff rate starting at €0.09/kWh in 2017, falling to €0.03/kWh in 2023 and a marginal €0.004/kWh in 2030.
The report argues that large-scale solar would cost around €150/MWh to deploy at present, however this is expected to fall below €100/MWh by 2030 and the report outlines how suitable subsidies could ease the large-scale to grid parity. It recommends offering subsidies equivalent to €67/MWh in 2017 and €12/MWh in 2023, before eventually phasing them out entirely in 2030.
KPMG estimates that the total policy support required under its plan would amount to around €670 million, a figure which would increase electricity prices by just 1% between 2017 and 2030. However each €1 spent would return almost €3 of gross value added to the Irish economy, providing the country with a significant economical boost.
Interest in Ireland’s nascent solar industry has increased over the last few months as the UK government has all but removed subsidies on offer for solar deployment across the large-scale and domestic markets.
Lightsource has laid out the largest investment to date, earmarking approximately €500 million for solar development in the country, while investment fund Macquarie Capital has also gotten in at the ground level with a €180 million investment through local developer Amarenco.