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 closed to new generation in March 2017 but all accredited generators before that date will receive ROCs for 20 years (to 2037).
Export payments for renewable energy
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..
Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme
If you invest in certain renewable energy equipment you may qualify for tax breaks called enhanced capital allowances - see first-year allowances for energy saving products.