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Solar technology deployment could support up to 7,300 jobs for economy

November 24, 2015

A new report from KPMG has found that deploying solar PV technology to power Irish homes and businesses could support up to 7,300 new jobs per year between 2017 and 2030. ‘A Brighter Future – The Potential Benefits of Solar Photovoltaics* (PV) in Ireland’ is published today, 24 November 2015, by KPMG in association with the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA).

The other key findings of the report are:

  • Cost competitiveness: A decrease of 80% in the costs of solar between 2008 and 2013 means solar PV is now affordable renewable energy technology in Ireland and is forecast to become the cheapest electricity generating technology over the coming decades. The total policy support needed to develop a thriving Irish solar sector is estimated at €670 million over the 2017-2030 period, which is equivalent to a 1% increase in domestic retail electricity prices. The economic benefits far outweigh this cost.
  • Security of supply: Solar PV would provide a native source of power, reducing Ireland’s dependency on imported fuels.
  • Environmental targets: Solar PV can be built and put into operation quickly, giving Ireland a better chance of meeting the target to source 40% of electricity from renewables by 2020 and avoiding potential significant fines under UN targets on Climate change, expected to be introduced at next month’s COP21 conference in Paris.
  • Foreign Direct Investment: A thriving domestic solar sector, together with Ireland’s existing strengths in high-tech industries, could make Ireland an attractive location for overseas players in the global solar market looking to establish a European manufacturing base. Multinational corporations with an existing presence in Ireland would also be better placed to source 100% of their electricity from renewable sources if desired.

Commenting on the report, Mike Hayes, Partner and Head of Energy and Natural Resources at KPMG said: ‘There are a wide range of potential benefits to the Irish economy if a policy support scheme for Solar PV was introduced. We know that for every €1 of policy support, the solar industry in Ireland would deliver €3 of Gross Value Added to the economy over the 2017-2030 period.’

Ireland does not currently have a policy mechanism to support Solar PV akin to a Feed in Tariff or Contract for Difference. The Government is currently consulting on future support schemes for renewable technologies following the closure of the REFIT 2 and REFIT 3 schemes, and has indicated that the review could introduce support for a wider range of technologies, including Solar PV.

David Maguire, Chairman of the Irish Solar Energy Association, said: ‘The report outlines a variety of support mechanisms which the Government could use for both rooftop and large scale ground mount deployment – all of which would ensure value for money for Irish energy consumers and taxpayers. Furthermore, because Ireland is one of the last countries in Europe to support solar PV, we have a late mover advantage that gives us the opportunity to learn from the experience of other countries and deploy solar in a sustainable manner that delivers best value to the Irish citizen.’

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