Republic of Ireland-based potato farming firm O’Shea Farms is aiming to install a 250kWp installation on the roofs of two of its buildings next month, claiming the development to be the “largest plant so far in the Republic”.
Local installer Solar Electric Ireland (SEI) has won a competitive tender process managed by Carlow Energy Agency to fit the system with work set to start in September. German suppliers Conergy and SMA will provide components for the project.
SEI has history in developing commercial-scale rooftop installations in the country having completed a 190kWp system – the largest project in the country at the time – for Tipperary Energy Agency across various public buildings.
Solar PV has yet to take off in Ireland with doubts still remaining over a potential subsidy support framework. There is still no feed-in tariff however a new energy policy – set to be unveiled by Ireland’s government in the coming weeks – looks set to introduce methods to stimulate renewable energy deployment.
Ireland is some way off its obligations to meet the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive, generating just 7.8% of the country’s energy demand from renewable sources. Ireland’s target is 16% by 2020, and 27% by 2030.
An O’Shea Farms spokesperson said the uncertainty was “holding back significant growth” in renewable energy deployment, which was also causing a knock-on effect on local employment.
Earlier this month Lightsource, the UK’s largest solar developer by capacity, outlined plans to invest up to €500 million in developing solar assets across Ireland. Lightsource CEO Nick Boyle said he was “excited by the opportunity” for solar in Ireland but also highlighted the importance of having proper incentives in place.