The DAFM has announced the opening of applications for solar panels under its new Solar Capital Investment Scheme (SCIS) as part of its five-year €370 million Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS 3), as reported by That’s Farming.
The scheme, which comes at a time of rising energy costs, aims to encourage the purchase of solar investments, thereby reducing dependence on fossil energy by farmers through:
- Higher grant rate at an enhanced of 60%;
- An increase in the size of available investments from 11kW to 62kW.
The scheme’s objectives are to:
- Lower the carbon footprint of primary production;
- Encourage self-consumption of renewable energy on holding and lower energy costs at farm level;
- Support the overall aim of a climate-neutral farm and a “more resilient” agricultural sector.
The solar scheme will be ring-fenced with its own investment ceiling of €90,000/holding, which is an increase from the previous €80,000.
According to the DAFM, multiple applications per tranche are permissible; however, the minimum amount of investment which is eligible for approval under this scheme is €2,000 per application.
The scheme is open to farmers who:
- Prior to submitting the online TAMS 3 application, have a minimum of 5 hectares of owned, leased or rented lands which has been declared under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) or equivalent in the year of application or preceding year, or in the case of intensive enterprises, generate a minimum of 20 production units from farming;
- have a Department identifier;
The official investment list for the SCIS from the DAFM (Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine) reads as follows:
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels:
- Solar Photovoltaic panels, including inverter and controller;
- Solar PV rechargeable battery;
- Solar Photovoltaic panels, including inverter & controller (pigs and poultry);
- Solar PV rechargeable battery (pigs and poultry).
In the case of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels, the scheme’s terms and conditions state, 100% of the electricity generated from the panels must be consumed on the applicant’s holding, which includes the dwelling house on the holding for farming purposes.
It is not permitted to use the electricity generated for commercial or non-farming consumption or to export the electricity generated (except for use in the applicant’s dwelling house on the holding).
An ‘On-Farm Solar PV Survey’ must be completed and submitted with the application to quantify the holding’s electricity power requirement and the planned electricity supply from the proposed development.
There are a number of documents that you must submit firstly for your application and claim and then in support of your claim for payment under the DAFM scheme.
Generate power for own dwelling and holding
According to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, the scheme will enable every farmer to generate their own power for their dwelling and holding and will help to achieve a “more sustainable” rural economy, assisting farmers in reducing energy costs on their holdings.
He stated that this separate investment ceiling for solar PV now provides an opportunity for farmers to realise energy cost savings and also contribute to our energy security and decarbonisation nationally.
McConalogue added that some farmers may also be in a position to avail of complimentary support through the Microgeneration Support Scheme.”
Under TAMS 3, the investment ceilings have been reset, which means every farmer who applied under TAMS II can also apply under TAMS 3.
The investment ceiling for solar will be increased to €90,000 per holding for the scheme’s duration.
This means every eligible farmer will be able to apply for the maximum ceiling of €90,000 for SCIS along with a ceiling of €40,000 for the Low Emission Slurry Scheme (LESS) and an increased ceiling of €90,000 for all other TAMS 3 Schemes.
Farmers may also include the energy demand of one dwelling house per holding in the sizing of the solar panel array, which will greatly benefit farm families during the current energy crisis.
Opening date and applying
TAMS 3 will run for five years and will include 10 schemes. It is anticipated that the first Tranche for all schemes will close on June 16th, 2023.
According to the DAFM, the scheme does not operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and all applications will go through a ranking and selection process after the closing date.
Applications must be submitted online through agfood.ie. Applicants who wish to apply online or through their agents must first be registered for online services (OLS) with the Department.
Instructions for registration can be found online at www.agfood.ie or you can contact AgFood’s online services helpline in the Department’s Portlaoise office at 0761 064424 or email [email protected]
More information and queries
To assist in calculating reference cost of structures/items, the DAFM has developed an Excel spreadsheet, which you can access on its website under ‘TAMS 3 Support Documents’.
You can submit queries of a technical nature relating to specifications to – [email protected]