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What is microgeneration?

Our guide to microgeneration

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What is microgeneration?

Microgeneration refers to the small-scale generation of electricity by households or small businesses to meet their own needs, in addition to their existing electricity supply. This is known as “self-consumption”. 

The most common form of microgeneration and one you may be familiar with is solar panels, however, there are different types of microgeneration technologies available.

Types of microgeneration technologies

Microgeneration involves installing a small generator powered by a renewable source such as wind, solar or hydropower, and connecting this to the electricity network.

What is Solar PV?

Solar photovoltaic systems generate electricity during daylight hours only, predominately around the middle of the day. In Ireland, around 75% is produced from May to September. If this electricity is not used in the home it is exported to the grid. 

A solar electric system (PV) is typically made up of:

  • Rooftop solar panels, which generate DC (direct current – like in a battery)
  • An ‘Inverter’ which converts this to AC (alternating current – like the electricity in your house socket)
  • Sometimes a battery on larger systems that saves energy for later use

What is Micro-wind?

Micro-wind generation is a method of microgeneration that uses the flow of wind energy to produce renewable electricity for a house or farm. The wind turbines are much smaller in scale than those used in conventional wind generation, so they are suitable for domestic customers or small businesses.

What is Micro-hydro?

Micro-hydro generation requires a flow of water to generate renewable electricity. The flow of water is used to drive a turbine or pump which converts the flow to energy. An alternator is then used to transform this energy into electricity.

What is Micro-CHP Combined Heat and Power?

Micro combined Heat and Power is an efficient solution that captures the heat created through electricity generation, producing on-site heat and power at the same time.  CHP systems are normally sized to meet heat demands, and used in sectors with a high heat demand, such as hotels or swimming pools.

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Benefits of microgeneration

  • On average, a solar PV system can save between €200-300 per year on your domestic energy bills.*
  • If you sign up to an export tariff with us, you can earn money by selling surplus electricity you are not using to the grid. We'll pay you an export rate per kWh exported. See our FAQ on microgeneration for more details of the microgeneration payments and to see what you are eligible for.

*Source: SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland)

Microgeneration using renewable technologies reduces reliance on carbon energy sources and helps move towards a more sustainable future

You can now sign up for a microgeneration plan by signing into your online account. Sign in and choose to receive a payment for exporting your excess energy to the grid. 

Terms and conditions apply

Sign in
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Export and earn with Bord Gáis Energy 

Customers of Bord Gáis Energy are now entitled to a payment for any electricity exported to the national grid.

We are offering our customers, both business and homeowners, 18.5 cent per kWh for any excess electricity that they are microgenerating and exporting to the electricity grid under our Microgen Export Plan. This rate will be offered to both metered and eligible deemed* customers.

Payments

  • To receive a payment, you’ll need to agree to our Microgen Export Plan T&Cs
  • If you were a Bord Gáis Energy customer on February 15th 2022 (date of legislation) and microgenerating at that time, your payment will be back-dated.
  • If you joined us after February 15th 2022, payments will be back-dated to when you became an eligible customer. 
  • All payments will be based on the data provided to us by ESB Networks.  
  • Once you’ve exported for 6 months, payment will be made as a credit on your electricity bill. We started making our first payments from March 2023.
  • If you’re eligible for a smart meter, you’ll need to have one installed to qualify for a payment.

* Deemed customers are customers who are not eligible under the National Smart Metering Program to have a smart meter installed.  In this case, your export amount will be calculated (deemed) using a pre-determined formula.

Mother holding infant son beside solar panels.

Bord Gáis Energy are supporting our customers take-up of microgeneration technologies and move towards net zero. 

Sign up for a microgeneration plan

You can now switch to a microgen plan by signing into your online account. 

Sign in now and choose to receive a payment for exporting your surplus energy to the grid. Terms and conditions apply.

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Who is eligible for the scheme?

  • To qualify for an export payment with Bord Gáis Energy, you must have us as your energy supplier. Go to our plans page to see our available offers.
  • You must have a microgenerator installed (i.e. solar PV, micro-wind, micro-hydro or renewable micro-CHP).
  • You must have notified ESBN of your microgeneration connection to the grid (via an NC6 form or equivalent). If you are not sure whether your installer has completed this form, contact ESB Networks to confirm. 
  • If you're eligible to have a smart meter installed during this phase of the rollout, then you will need a smart meter to be paid for your export. Where customers are eligible to have a smart meter installed, ESB Networks will endeavour to install a smart meter within four months of a valid NC6 form being processed by ESB Networks. 
  • If you're not eligible to have a smart meter installed during this phase, then you'll be paid based on a deemed export calculation.

Download our Quick Guide for more information on eligibility for microgeneration export payments.

Quick guide to microgeneration
Download Quick Guide

*MEC stands for Maximum Export Capacity. This refers to the capacity (measured in kWh) of your microgeneration equipment.

** 24-hour meter customers (also known as MCC01 meter) are eligible for microgeneration payments if they have a smart meter. 3 phase MCC01 meters are not yet eligible for smart meters and qualify for deemed payments.  Day/night meters(MCC02) are now included in the smart meter roll-out since September 2023.  If your micro-generator installation was approved after 11 September 2023, you will need a smart meter to qualify for a microgeneration payment.

***'Deemed' relates to your Deemed Export Quantity. This is an estimation based on a formula, of your exported electricity in kWh. Your deemed export quantity is sent to us by ESB Networks in situations where metered export data is not available.

Find out more about how 2023 changes to smart meter eligibility affect microgeneration customers.

Learn more

How to invest in microgeneration

✔ Get an assessment of the suitability of your property

✔ Apply for a grant from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

✔ Install solar PV or other microgeneration technology

✔ Notify ESBN via an NC6 form (or equivalent)

✔ Secure an export tariff with Bord Gáis Energy. Eligible customers can sign in now and choose to receive a payment for exporting surplus energy to the grid. 

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What is the Micro-Generation Support Scheme?

As part of its Climate Action Plan 2021, the Irish government announced the launch of the Micro-Generation Support Scheme, which aims to incentivise homes, businesses, farms, and communities in Ireland to reduce their carbon footprint by using renewable generation technologies to produce their own clean energy. 

A range of grants and supports were made available to boost Ireland's energy transition and encourage investment in micro-generators such as solar installations, micro-wind and micro-hydro power sources for renewable energy. 

For further information on the grant scheme visit the SEAI's grant information hub. You can find more details on the government support scheme on gov.ie.

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Changes to smart meter eligibility in September 2023

What’s changing?

From September 2023, if you have any of the following meters, you’ll be eligible to receive a smart meter replacement:

  • Day/night meters will be replaced with smart day/night meters.  Day/night simply means you pay different unit rates for daytime (8am to 11pm) and night-time (11pm to 8am).
  • 3 phase meters (24-hour only) will be replaced with smart 24-hour meters.  3 phase meters have 3 main fuses instead of one fuse in single-phase installations.
  • Night storage heating customers who haven’t used their night storage heating register for over two years will be eligible for a smart meter exchange.  Night storage customers pay a 24-hour unit rate for electricity, apart from any storage heating used overnight, which is charged at a lower rate.  One thing to note is that for night storage heating, there’s a standing charge applied to both the 24-hour electricity and the night storage electricity. If you choose to switch to a smart meter, you’ll be on a 24-hour meter and will only pay one standing charge. 
What does this mean for microgeneration customers?

If you’re receiving a deemed microgen payment, and are eligible for a smart meter installation, you must accept this to continue receiving your payments. 

If you’ve objected to a smart meter installation in the past, you’ll need to remove this objection before the end of August 2023 to continue receiving your Microgen payments.

Why do I need to have a smart meter to continue to receive my payment?

Networks will no longer send us deemed export data for your microgeneration when you become eligible for a smart meter, so we will no longer be able to make your payment.

Why is deemed data no longer provided?

This is based on the CRU guidelines.

If you’re receiving a microgen payment, and are eligible for a smart meter installation, you must accept this to continue receiving your payment.  If you’ve objected to a smart meter installation in the past, you’ll need to remove this objection before the end of August to continue receiving your microgen payments.

If you have not used your night storage heating register in more than two years, ESB Networks will offer you a smart 24-hour meter installation (MCC01). If you don’t object to this installation, the night storage heating meter will be removed and a 24-hour smart meter will be enabled.

If you’re currently receiving a Microgen payment, you’ll continue to receive this, regardless of whether a smart meter is installed.

Want to know more about smart meters?

Read our 'Ultimate Guide to Smart Meters' for a comprehensive look at this recent innovation, including information on the rollout in Ireland, the benefits of smart meters and how they work.

Smart Meter Guide

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