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Incentivising homes and businesses to invest in solar

‘Countries around Europe have a much deeper penetration in microgeneration than we have’

Homes and businesses are set to receive incentives to invest in solar panels in order to generate their own electricity.

Homes and businesses are set to receive incentives to invest in solar panels in order to generate their own electricity.

 

Offsetting energy bills or selling excess energy back to the national grid is what is proposed under the new Microgeneration Support Scheme, that is due to be put in place by the Government in July.

Homes and businesses are set to receive incentives to invest in solar panels in order to generate their own electricity.

Pinergy, which was the first electricity company to go down the route of smart metering, has welcomed the proposed scheme, with CEO Enda Gunnell saying it is bringing Ireland in line with the rest of Europe.

Enda Gunnell, CEO of Pinergy: ‘Microgeneration is the first step.’ Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Coalesce.
Enda Gunnell, CEO of Pinergy: ‘Microgeneration is the first step.’ Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Coalesce.

“Countries around Europe have a much deeper penetration in microgeneration than we have. It hasn’t yet been said what price that power can be sold at, but it could be based on an average day ahead price. Provided that represents the market price we would very much support it.

“There are certain times of day and night when, due to the predominance of renewable power, very cost-effective energy is available and we want to be able to sell that very cheap power to customers at cheap prices. The technology is there and we’re ready for this, but we want to make sure the regulatory part of the networks piece is able to facilitate that,” he says.

Traditional electricity companies make their money the more electricity is used.

“We want to champion the cause of reducing consumption as a means of starting a sustainable journey and helping the customer reduce their consumption over time by 50 per cent . The Irish market needs to do more to go down the energy efficiency route and people have become more conscious of the sustainability agenda over the last two years. We believe everybody has a role to play, so we want to partner with those people to help them reduce their consumption.

“Our brand position is that we supply and analyse. We put in smart metering technology – hardware and software to allow you, as the customer, understand your consumption, make it very understandable. Supply, analyse and then advise as part of our contract on how you reduce your consumption. How can you use microgeneration technologies or other energy efficiency technologies to bring your spend down? We view energy as a resource rather than a commodity but it’s treated as a commodity and commodities trade on price. It’s about trying to redefine an energy supply proposition,” he says.

First time

Recently the National Smart Metre programme has turned on smart services for the first time, so 250,000 houses now have a smart metre installed and that allows suppliers like Pinergy to offer different energy efficient propositions based on the data that they garner in relation to consumption. That’s not yet happening in the commercial space so they will continue to put in individual smart metres as part of their supply for now.

“We don’t want state infrastructure to slow us down, we want to bring innovative propositions to our customers. Other countries are getting these dynamic tariff structures, the benefits of cheap renewable power and the ability to use battery technology to shift their demand to a different time of the day or to sell it back to the grid. We want to do all those things in Ireland and microgeneration is the first step,” he says.