Can You Sell Electricity Back to the Grid in Ireland?

EirGrid help you sell electricity back to the grid

Over the past few years, the conversation around sustainable energy solutions has gained significant momentum, with an increasing number of countries pushing towards these green energy sources. Ireland is one of the notable countries that have propelled clean power to the limelight; according to research by Statista, the country is expecting an annual growth rate of 3.84% in their solar energy market.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) also stated that renewable energy (solar and wind) accounted for 13.6% of Ireland’s electricity demands in 2022. However, as more Irish businesses and homeowners strive to harness the potential of solar panels in Ireland, one question looms: Can you sell electricity back to the grid in Ireland?

Can You Sell Electricity Back to the Grid in Ireland?

The short answer is yes. “Businesses and homeowners in Ireland can earn extra money by selling excess electricity generated through renewable energy systems, such as solar panels in Dublin, back to the grid,” said Slaven Litera, Wizer’s Director of Operations – and a keen green energy advocate. “Besides earning money, selling surplus electricity helps you reduce your carbon footprint and save on electric bills.”

For starters, it must be connected to the national grid and registered as a microgeneration device under the Microgeneration Support Scheme. Businesses and homeowners who intend to sell electricity to the national grid must get the necessary permits, undergo inspections, and get approvals from local authorities and the utility company they want to work with.

Individuals looking to sell electricity back to the grid in Ireland can choose between three options: net metering, a clean export guarantee, and feed-in tariffs.

  • Net metering: this option allows individuals to offset their electricity usage with electricity generated from their businesses and homes.
  • Feed-in tariffs: this option offers sellers a fixed amount of money per unit sold back to the grid.
  • Clean Export Guarantee: This is a government program designed to incentivise individuals to generate electricity. It guarantees sellers a fair price for extra electricity exported to the grid.

Selling electricity to the national grid can be a great source of income for home and business owners with surplus electricity. However, before we delve into the steps for feeding electricity into the grid, it is essential to learn what the national grid and the microgeneration scheme are.

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What is the National Grid?

The national grid in Ireland is a system tasked with the transmission and distribution of electricity to households and businesses in the country. It is owned and operated by EirGrid, a corporation responsible for ensuring a reliable electricity supply to every part of Ireland. However, EirGrid relies on other corporations, such as Electric Ireland, Bord Gais Energy, and SSE Airtricity, for the electricity distribution work.

As it is responsible for distributing electricity to homes, the Irish national grid system acts as a link between power generation facilities and end users. Operating between voltages of 220kV, 400kV and 500kV, the system is purposefully engineered to facilitate efficient long-distance transmission of electricity. It is also interconnected with Great Britain’s and Northern Ireland’s grids, facilitating the interchange of resources between these regions.

What is the Microgeneration Scheme?

The Microgeneration Scheme in Ireland is a government-backed program that allows home and business owners to earn money selling any surplus renewable energy they generate. It is part of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019, created as an incentive to get more individuals to generate their electricity through small wind turbines and solar panels in Cork and nationwide. But how does it work exactly?

“As many parts of Ireland move towards a greener world, more and more people are installing solar panels in their homes to generate electricity for heating, lighting, and powering electronics. Sometimes, these solar PV panels can generate more electricity than a person would need in their household or business,” Slaven commented. “Under the microgeneration scheme, they can sell any surplus electricity back to the grid to earn money and prevent waste.”

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How Do you Avail of the Scheme?

Any establishment, business, farm, school, or household can benefit from the microgeneration scheme, provided they have a microgeneration device and generate surplus electricity. It is important to ensure the installation of the microgeneration equipment complies with relevant safety and technical standards required by the program.

The next step is registration. Owners should register their microgeneration systems with an ESB network (distribution system operator), which will earn them a unique generator ID. You are also required to install a suitable metering device to facilitate the measurement of the electricity you sell to the national grid.

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How to Feed Electricity Back to the Grid

As we have already established, if you wish to earn money by selling electricity to the national grid, you can choose between three main options: net metering, feed-in tariff, and clean export guarantee. But what are the steps involved in feeding electricity back to the grid?

Feeding electricity back to the grid in Ireland is a relatively straightforward process, even for first-timers. Here is a breakdown of what you should do if you want to avail yourself of the microgeneration scheme in Ireland:

  • Step 1: Find and register with a suitable distribution company – to sell electricity back to the grid, the first and most important step is to find and register your microgeneration system with an ESB network. When choosing a distribution company, consider factors such as export rates, compatibility with your microgeneration system and contract terms.
  • Step 2: Establish a grid connection and install a meter – once you have chosen an ESB network to sell your electricity through, the next step is to establish a grid connection and install a meter. The distribution company will advise you on how to install a grid connection. You also must install a smart meter to allow for measuring the amount of electricity you generate and export.
  • Step 3: Apply for connection and export licenses with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) – after connecting your microgeneration system to the national grid, the next step is to apply for connection and export licenses with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. Licensing will depend on the size of your installation and the amount of surplus electricity you intend to sell.
  • Step 4: Start selling your surplus electricity – once you have a connection to the national grid, registered with an ESB network and acquired the necessary licenses, you can start selling your surplus electricity. The distribution network will pay you based on your contract.

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How Much Can You Make Selling Electricity to the Grid

Several factors determine how much you can make selling electricity to the grid in Ireland. These include the size of your microgeneration system, the current feed-in tariff rate, and the amount of electricity generated. Therefore, it is important to check with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities or the utility company you sell electricity through.

Besides paying you for the electricity generated, ESB networks also offer different modes of payment. As we already know, how you will be paid depends on the program you are registered with. For instance, a seller registered under net metering will not receive the money directly to their accounts – earnings from excess electricity generated will be used to offset electricity consumed from the grid. If the earnings exceed your electricity bill, the earnings will accumulate for future use.

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Conclusion

Selling electricity back to the grid is one of the best ways to earn money from surplus electricity generated from your microgeneration systems, such as wind turbines and solar panels in Limerick and nationwide. The Irish government introduced the program to incentivise home and business owners to generate more renewable energy.

Although setting up a microgeneration system can be costly, it is a rewarding project that can save you money in the long run and contribute a great deal to a more sustainable future. However, it is important to follow the right procedures when selling back electricity to the grid, including finding the right ESB network and acquiring the required licenses.

Are you ready to harness the power of the sun and earn money selling electricity to the grid? Contact us today at Wizer Energy Ltd. to get a free quote or consultation. Let us help set up your solar microgeneration system and start a journey towards a sustainable future. Your energy independence starts here!

Author Bio

Martin Desmond

Martin is the Managing Director of Wizer Energy, with 30 years of experience in commercial and industrial electrical work. He has won awards in the commercial wiring arena and went on to study and train as an electrical engineer, preparing a PhD study in the area of Future Smart Microgrids. Since the late 1990s, Martin has had a keen interest in green and renewable energy, now utilised by working in the solar panel industry. After a life-changing injury from a fall at a height in 2007, Martin overcame it with a voltage generator embedded within his body. Being a qualified electrician since the 90’s, an electrical engineer since 2012, and utilising electricity generated within his own body, it’s hard to get more electrically qualified!

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