Microgenerators in Northern Ireland (Micro-NIRO)

The NIRO scheme closed to micro-NIRO wind, on 1 July 2016. The NIRO closes to all technologies from 1 April 2017. If you commission and submit a NIRO application to us before 1 April 2017 you will receive existing ROC support levels. After this new stations, or additional capacity, must be eligible for a grace period to be accredited – please see our guidance on wind and other technologies for details on the grace periods available.

Audits of micro-NIRO stations will be taking place throughout March 2017 to coincide with the closure of the NIRO scheme on 1 April 2017. Please see the ‘What happens if I get audited?’ section below for more information. If you are aware of any generating stations that have stated a commissioning date prior to 1 April 2017 but will not have commissioned by this date, please let us know as soon as possible. You can contact us on the details in the ‘Need help?’ section below.

What is Micro-NIRO?

The Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) is an environmental scheme to encourage the use of renewable electricity in Northern Ireland. Under the scheme, generating stations with a capacity of 50kW or less are termed ‘Micro-NIRO’ stations.

Once accredited, you can claim Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation Certificates (NIROCs) for 20 years, or until 31 March 2037, whichever is sooner. NIROCs are usually claimed annually for Micro-NIRO stations.

Do I get paid by Ofgem under the scheme?

No. We provide Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation Certificates (NIROCs) for eligible generation from an accredited station. NIROCs can be traded with third parties, or sold to electricity suppliers directly, who use them to meet their Renewables Obligation. More information can be found in our guidance for generators.

When can I start claiming NIROCs?

A station is eligible to claim NIROCs for 20 years from its effective date, or 31 March 2037, whichever is sooner. The effective date is set by the later of:

  • the date your application for accreditation was submitted to Ofgem on the Renewables and CHP Register (If you’re using an agent, it is the date the agent submits this application on the Register, not the date that you submit the application to the agent)
  • the date your station was commissioned (You’ll find this on your MCS Certificate, which your installer will give to you).

For example: If your station was commissioned on 1 July but your NIRO application is submitted on 1 August in the same year, 1 August is the effective date for the station, and the date you can claim NIROCs from for the 20-year period.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the scheme:

  • Your station must generate electricity from a renewable source (Solar photo-voltaic (PV), wind, hydro or fuelled)
  • Your station must be situated in Northern Ireland
  • Your station must have a declared net capacity (DNC) below 50kW (to be a Micro-generator)
  • Your generation must be accurately measured by an NMO/MID approved meter
  • You must have a valid MCS Certificate.

How do I apply?

  • You can appoint an agent to act on your behalf under the NIRO legislation. The agent will then submit and manage the accreditation application for your station
  • Or, you can apply directly to us. More information can be found in the Micro-NIRO application: step-by-step guide.

When do I need to submit meter readings?

You can choose to submit meter readings monthly or annually. Most micro-generators choose to submit annually at the end of each obligation year (April – March). If you choose to submit meter readings annually, then you should take a meter reading on your effective date (in the first year) and on 31 March each year after that. You should submit these readings to your agent (if appointed, by your agent’s stated deadline) or directly to us on the Renewables and CHP Register (by 31 May each year).

More information on how to submit annual data to us can be found in our step by step guide for submitting data.

How do I work out my eligible generation?

More information on how to calculate eligible generation can be found in our step by step guide for submitting data.

What happens if I get audited?

Audits of generating stations will be completed yearly by our appointed auditors. We pick a sample of stations to be audited each year. The auditors check that generating stations have commissioned and that the information submitted in the accreditation application is correct. If your station is chosen, you will be notified and the audit will involve a short visit during which the auditor will view the station and metering set up in situ.

What is Ofgem's role?

We administer the NIRO in accordance with the NIRO Order on behalf of the Utility Regulator Northern Ireland.

Specifically, we:

  • grant accreditation to eligible generating stations, and
  • issue NIROCs for eligible generation from accredited stations.

Need help?

For more information, please see our Micro-NIRO application: step-by-step guide. You can also email MicroNIRO@ofgem.gov.uk or phone 0207 901 7310 and choose option 2 for the Renewables team.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 16th Jan 2017
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This guide will help you to submit an application for accreditation under the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) scheme for your MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certified solar photovoltaic (PV) or wind installation.

  • Published: 13th Apr 2016
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
This guide will help you claim support under the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) scheme for your Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified solar photovoltaic (PV) or wind installation.