Terra Solar shutters as projects transferred to ESB

Irish utility-scale solar developer Terra Solar Limited is winding up, with its projects finding new life with Irish utility ESB.

All of Terra’s commercially viable sites have now been fully developed and transferred to ESB, the utility said, bringing a total of 118MW of additional capacity to ESB’s solar portfolio. ESB will now look to enter these sites in the upcoming Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auctions, with the application process deadline for the RESS now pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESB made a €2.5 million investment into Terra Solar in 2016, with ESB lauding Terra as “one of the most advanced” solar developers in Ireland at the time of the investment. The move allowed ESB to develop and take ownership of small to medium scale solar opportunities in Ireland, it said.

Andrew Keating, chairman and ESB representative on the Terra Solar Limited board, said that the partnership between the two has increased ESB's renewable portfolio in line with the company’s Brighter Future Strategy, which sets out to lead Ireland’s transition to a low carbon future.

Terra Solar Limited will now be wound down in an orderly manner, as envisaged in the original business plan, ESB said.

Whilst Terra may have shut up shop, the market for Irish solar looks to be growing due to the introduction of the RESS. The scheme first recieved government approval in 2018, and is designed to help the country reach 70% renewable energy by 2030. Solar is expected to take home up to 10% of the available capacity. However, the Irish Solar Energy Association described limiting solar to 10% as "disappointing" despite the ambition shown in decarbonisation.

The Irish utility-scale solar market and the opportunity the RESS presents was discussed at length in a recent blog post from Solar Media analyst Lauren Cook.