Varadkar wants to see solar panels on all farm roofs

The government is moving forward with plans to roll out a micro-generation scheme that will financially incentivize farmers to install solar panels on farm buildings and sheds.

Although a delivery date is not yet available, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is in talks with Environment Minister Eamon Ryan “to agree a decent rate” to pay farmers for each kilowatt hour of electricity exported from farms. to the network as part of the upcoming program.

Along with the program’s environmental benefits, Varadkar said its goal is to bring “better and more stable streams of income” to farms over the next five to seven years.

Speaking at Fine Gael’s special conference on agriculture and rural development, the party leader said: “I think solar farms are great, I have nothing against them, but I would much rather see solar panels on all the roofs of the farms.

“For that, it is essential that we can guarantee farmers a decent price, so if farmers invest in solar panels or in the production of micro wind turbines, they know that they will get a return on investment – ​​not in 20 years, but within a reasonable time.

“We need a decent, agreed rate and I’m talking to Eamon Ryan about it right now, and I think we’ll get a good result.

“Talking to farmers, they tell me they want to do this; they want to get into micro-generation, they want to put solar panels on the roofs and they want the government to facilitate that. »

Martin Heydon, Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the party’s new agricultural and rural committee will focus on micro-generation as its first line of work.

“Farmers have repeatedly said they are ready to play their part in decarbonizing our energy system. In small-scale energy production, I believe there is a huge opportunity for farmers and rural communities to play a major role.

“That is certainly the ambition of Fine Gael, and I would say the first job of the forum should be to explore this area with the aim of having a concrete policy position in place within three months to ensure that We unlock the potential of farmers and rural Ireland in the production of clean, green energy.

About Cassondra Durden

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