Farmers will be able to access the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) grant for the installation of solar panels and batteries, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.
The grant will apply for installations costing up to €90,000 and at a rate of 60% of the cost incurred.
The grant will be available to “all farm families” from January 2023, the Minister said.
He was speaking at the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) AGM in Limerick on Monday.
Solar panel installations on farmhouses, not only sheds and farm buildings, will also be eligible under the TAMS grant secured.
TAMS drawdowns under the solar provision will also not affect a farmer’s applications for the grant for other farm works.
“We are entering a new phase of energy generation for the country and farm-level solar will play a massive role in that. I know dairy farmers, in particular, will be very interested in that space.
“Be that on-farm or nationally, self-sufficiency in terms of energy generation is what we need to move towards. The Government will back you in this space,” Minister McConalogue told ICMSA members.
However, dairy farmers present were not all impressed with the grant aid for solar panels.
One farmer from the floor highlighted that the Minister is taking money from the CAP budget and that the emissions credit for the renewable energy generated will be credited to the energy sector.
“Leave our TAMS alone for us for farming equipment,” he said.
The Minister highlighted how, in total, the Government has “budgeted €440m for on-farm investments over the period 2021-2027” and made clear that dairy farmers will continue to be supported in on-farm capital investments.
“I am confirming here today that there continues to be a strong focus on dairy investments in the next TAMS.
“As well as milking machines and milking robots being included, items such as heat detection collars, roadways, underpasses, grass measuring equipment, rainwater harvesting [and] heat pumps. All of these will, I believe, help drive greater operational efficiencies on farms,” he said.