Generating your own renewable electricity can provide a stable energy supply for your own business' needs. It also presents an opportunity to profit from energy which you produce above your own needs. There are two potential sources of income from small-scale renewable energy generation in Northern Ireland:
- Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs)
- export payments
Renewable Obligation Certificates
ROCs provide financial support for renewable electricity generation. ROCs are part of the Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation (NIRO), the main way government encourages renewable electricity generation in Northern Ireland.
One ROC is issued for each megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible output generated by renewables, including electricity you generate and use yourself.
In order to be eligible to receive ROCs you must:
- be registered with Ofgem
- have an Ofgem-approved generation meter installed
The number of ROCs you receive per kilowatt hour depends on the technology you use and the amount of energy you produce. Generators can sell their ROCs either directly to electricity suppliers or to ROC traders who sell on to electricity suppliers.
The NIRO will close to new generation in March 2017 but all accredited generators at that date will receive ROCs for 20 years (to 2037).
If you generate more electricity than you use you may be able to sell the extra electricity back into the grid. Power NI offers an export system for small-scale generators in Northern Ireland. Read about the options to sell your electricity on the Power NI website.
A range of grants and loans are available to help businesses switch to renewable energy.
If you are a small or medium-sized business you can apply for an interest-free loan through Invest Northern Ireland to invest in renewable energy technology. Find information about the Energy Efficiency Loan Fund on the Invest NI website.
Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme
If you invest in certain renewable energy equipment you may qualify for tax breaks called enhanced capital allowances. See our guide on first-year allowances for energy saving products.
CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
If your business is covered by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly the Carbon Reduction Commitment) you can claim credits for any electricity you generate. This means you can buy fewer allowances and save money.
See our guide on how to meet EU Emissions Trading System requirements.