Lightsource, one of Europe’s biggest players in solar photovoltaic (PV) farms, is understood to be planning to invest €500m to develop solar farms across Ireland.
The company aims to work with farmers, as well as property owners such as factories and retail outlets, to boost sustainable electricity generation in Ireland.
Lightsource believes that with the proper incentives solar energy can generate 1.5 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2020.
This is enough sustainable and clean electricity to power more than 495,000 local households, easily meeting more than 5pc of Ireland’s electricity demand.
Lightsource, which is incorporated in the UK, is one of the leading generators of solar PV energy in Europe and one of the top 10 globally.
It employs 350 people full-time and has a growing office in Dublin.
‘Any risks associated with the development of these solar projects, including installation costs, will be borne by Lightsource’
– NICK BOYLE
“We are excited by the opportunity for solar power in Ireland. Lightsource is committing significant financial investment and resources towards realising this opportunity,” said Nick Boyle, Lightsource’s CEO and a native of Antrim.
“Any risks associated with the development of these solar projects, including installation costs, will be borne by Lightsource. This commitment will not only add to sustainable electricity generation in Ireland, it will also strengthen the local economy and supply chain.
“Our ground-mounted solar projects will provide much-needed land diversification for farming enterprises, and our rooftop systems will enable schools, businesses and community buildings to reduce overhead costs. It really is a win-win for local communities,” Boyle said.
Ireland’s renewable energy imperative
By 2030, 27pc of Ireland’s energy will need to come from renewable sources, according to the Government.
Over the coming months, the European Union will announce new renewable energy targets for member states.
In its report published in February, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland said Ireland’s 2013 renewable energy production contributed 7.8pc of the country’s final energy demand, putting Ireland almost halfway towards the target of 16pc by 2020 set under the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive.
The Government will shortly publish a new Energy Policy 2015-2030.
Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama announced a major climate change plan and called on energy users to shift from traditional fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives, including solar power.
Solar energy image via Shutterstock