IRELAND’S LARGEST SOLAR PV PROJECT
In 2014, Tipperary County Council made headlines with Ireland’s largest solar panel (photovoltaic) project. The panels were installed on fire stations, libraries, offices and leisure centres in a project which increased Ireland’s total solar PV capacity at the time by 44%. So far into 2020 the energy generated from these panels has saved the council well over €19,000 and has reduced carbon emissions by 41 tonnes. The panels directly convert the sun’s light into electricity and have a lifespan of 25 years. Solar panels are different as they use the sun to heat water.
The council has recently doubled its solar panel capacity, adding a further 250kW. Four more generating sites have been added, including panels on two leisure centres and a ground mounted array on a landfill site near Roscrea. Energy generated from these sites would be enough to power 50 houses.
Marion O’ Neill, Head of Environment at Tipperary County Council said: “The installation of the solar panel arrays at this landfill in Tipperary is a great example for other local authorities to use such sites to generate renewable energy and reduce energy costs.”
The difference between this project and the project six years ago is that excess electricity can be sold to Ireland’s only community owned renewable electricity supplier, ‘Community Power’. One of the founders of Community Power, John Fogarty said: “It is our vision that every citizen and every community in Ireland can have the opportunity to really be active participants in the energy transition. For us, that means inspiring people to build their own renewable project, whether on a farm or on a roof, and then buying and selling that clean power to and from themselves.”
Together with Tipperary Energy Agency, Tipperary County Council is a partner on a European Project called Community Virtual Power Plant. This project is helping communities across Ireland to generate their own electricity which they can sell to Community Power.
The panels at Tipperary County Council sites, including the array at the landfill site, will be live and generating electricity very soon. Electricity supplier Community Power is looking for homeowners and businesses to purchase their community renewably generated electricity.
Denise Maguire Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine