Green Light For Ireland’s First Utility Scale Solar Farm

BNRG Northern Power has announced it has received planning permission for the first utility scale solar farm in Ireland.

The 5.1 megawatt facility will be constructed on the outskirts of Downpatrick in Northern Ireland.

The solar power station, which will consist of 20,300 ground-mounted solar panels, will generate enough electricity to power 1500 homes.

“There are currently only around five megawatts solar energy produced in Northern Ireland, from mainly small-scale roof-mounted panels,” said BNRG’s Sean McMullan.

“We believe there is considerable potential for large-scale solar generation here, particularly as a genuine alternative to other forms of renewable energy generation such as wind. This new project will more than double the total installed solar power capacity in Northern Ireland.”

The €7.6 million project will take approximately 3 months to construct and support around 50 jobs during that time. Post-construction, there will be five long-term employment opportunities.

In other renewables news out of Ireland, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte, recently launched the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP).

Ireland has a landmass of around 90,000 square kilometres, but a sea area of around 10 times that size.

“Ireland’s position at the Atlantic edge of the EU gives an almost unparalleled offshore energy resource, with suitable conditions available for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies,” said Minister Rabbitte.

19.6% of Ireland’s electricity demand was met by renewable sources in 2012, with 15.3% provided by onshore wind. Ireland has a target of meeting 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020.

The OREDP identifies the opportunity for Ireland to increase domestic production of renewable electricity and sets out key principles, policy actions and enablers to achieve this potential. The full document can be viewed here (PDF).