Offaly TD urges local farmers to apply for solar panel funding
Independent TD for Offaly Carol Nolan has urged all farmers in Laois-Offaly to make immediate applications for solar panel funding under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II).
Deputy Nolan was speaking after she questioned the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, on the number of farmers that have currently availed of solar grants in counties Laois and Offaly in respect of installing solar panels on outhouses and buildings other than domestic dwellings:
“I was surprised to find in the Minister’s reply that there has not been a single application for this funding from either Laois or Offaly."
"What this tells me is not that there is no interest for this funding among our farming community, but that more needs to be done by the Department to highlight the availability and accessibility of the Scheme."
"It is pointless to have funding opportunities like this without a parallel and robust system of advertising measures being put in place."
"The message must be brought to the farmers who are already over-worked and underpaid in so many instances."
"As I understand it, the new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS opening on April 5," Nolan said.
"Under the terms of the Scheme, Solar PV Installation grant aid in the initial pilot phase will be up to €9,300 or up to 60% of the overall cost which will be available to fund a 6kWp solar system.
"So I would encourage every farmer who even thinks they may be eligible to apply, especially in light of the fact that TAMS II is only set to run until December 2020, making the window of opportunity very tight."
"The Minister in his reply indicated that the grants would be also available to our Pig, Poultry and Egg producing farmers. This is absolutely vital In a post-Brexit scenario," the Offaly deputy added.
"Only recently we had the IFA informing us that in the event of a hard Brexit, factories in the North of Ireland may be in no position to buy pigs from the south, with the additional concern that Ireland will not be able to process the extra pig numbers that will automatically arise."
"This highlights the stark nature of the threat to the sector, which in turn makes it even more important that cost reduction measures like these be availed of in Laois-Offaly,” concluded Deputy Nolan.