The size of solar panels funded through TAMS will have to match the electricity demand of the farm and cannot be installed with the intention to export electricity to the grid.

Under the new Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), farmers will be able to avail of a 60% grant on solar PV systems under a separate €90,000 investment ceiling.

The aim is to encourage as many farmers as possible to produce and use their own electricity on the farm and the farm house, providing both are behind the same meter.

With the 60% grant aid, electricity from TAMS-funded panels would be cheaper to produce and, if exported to the grid, would have an unfair competitive advantage over other sectors which also sell electricity to the grid.

“If someone paid for solar panels or a small turbine with a grant, they have a competitive advantage over someone who didn’t get the grant,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Can they stop you exporting?

As with the previous TAMS, the Department cannot physically stop farmers from exporting electricity to the grid.

Instead, the Department requires an on-farm solar PV survey to be completed with a TAMS application, which ensures that the size of the solar panels matches the farm’s demand.

Therefore, only small amounts of surplus electricity will be available for export.

Can I get paid for this electricity?

Any producer of renewable electricity now has the right to export surplus electricity back to the grid and be paid the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) tariff. This a deal between the producer and supplier of electricity.

Prices on the market currently range from 14c/kWh – 24c/kWh.