Ireland: Just connect photovoltaic systems up to three kilowatts

03/06/2022 – Ireland is less pampered with the sun than Germany. Solar radiation values ​​are roughly the same as in the southern parts of Sweden, Finland and England – on average around 900 kilowatt hours per square meter. By 2030, the country wants to obtain 80 percent. electricity generated from renewable energy sources. To this end, it is planned to expand 2.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic power, 8 gigawatts of onshore wind and 5 gigawatts of offshore wind. In 2021, only 100 megawatts of photovoltaic power were installed, so the target growth rate is significant.

The Irish government has launched a tender for solar farms, the first projects have been awarded and are under construction. Moreover, Ireland relies heavily on small self-consumption systems in Irish households. For this reason, the de minimis limit has been set to the maximum value in the European comparison: power generation systems with an inverter connection capacity of up to 6 kVA in single-phase installations and up to 11 kVA in three-phase installations are considered microgenerators and use simple connection and billing rules. The simplest and most practical is the de minimis limitation for photovoltaic systems. By the end of the decade, a total of 308 megawatts of power for this type of system should be installed on roofs or in home gardens.

The highest de minimis limit for small systems in Europe

The Microgeneration Support Program (MSS) was launched last year. But even before that, the Irish often installed small systems and supplied electricity to the grid without pay and without registration. “The people here in Ireland are home and house anarchists and charity is given. Giving something out voluntarily without pay for it is normal in this world, ”says Juri Hertel, who has lived in Ireland for many years. How many small systems have actually been installed will probably only be known when smart meters are installed everywhere. It could be tens of thousands. The term guerilla PV – used in the early days in Germany for connected solar devices – therefore takes on a different meaning.

Microgenerators can be registered with the grid operator using a two-page registration form. It does not matter whether it is a small system with an inverter and mains power supply or several plug-in PV modules that already have an integrated inverter and feed it in your own household via a socket. In the latter case, the homeowner himself is responsible for ensuring that his internal electrical network is able to accept the electricity fed into the grid.

Smart meters measure the consumption and export of electricity as it enters the grid – the basis for billing. If you don’t have or want a smart meter, you can just enter it and it’s still possible. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: even without an accurate kilowatt-hour measurement, payment is made – the power supply is estimated. The salary comes from the electricity supplier, a company that also sells electricity. Electricity suppliers have been legally required to do so since February 2022.

In Germany, only solar modules with a total power of 600 watts – that is, two modules on average – can supply electricity from a household socket as plug-in photovoltaic devices. And even this limit and related technical requirements have been fought over the years. All other systems must be registered with the network operator and present a commissioning report drawn up according to the specified rules.

The network structure and population density in Germany and Ireland are very different, therefore Irish generosity cannot be transferred 1: 1 to Germany. But the example of Ireland shows how great opportunities can be for small, self-sufficient people. The fact that balcony modules hit the market in Germany despite the difficult start-up phase proves once again how strong and common the commitment to the energy transition is among the population. Petra Franke

Addendum: The original version of the article incorrectly mentions a minimum limit of up to 3 kilowatts for system power. Regulations of the Irish operator of ESB Networks However, they are not based on system power but on connection power which can be 6 kVA in single phase environments and 11 kVA in three phase environments. pf

Leave a Comment