Ørsted begins building its first Irish solar farm in Carlow

20 Jun 2024

Image: Ørsted

Ørsted already has a significant presence in Ireland’s wind sector, but is taking steps to expand its solar energy presence too.

Ørsted, the Danish-headquartered energy company, has begun construction on its first solar project in Ireland.

The project is located at Garreenleen, roughly 15km from Carlow town. Once completed, the solar farm is expected to create 81MW of power and reduce Ireland’s reliance on fossil fuels. Ørsted said the solar farm will generate enough renewable energy to power 29,000 homes.

The energy company expects this Garreenleen Phase 1 project to be operational in 2026 and bring Ørsted’s operational capacity on the island of Ireland to almost 500MW. Ørsted previously said it expects the second phase of this project to be completed one year after the first phase.

As part of the construction project, Ørsted said it is installing the necessary grid infrastructure for Phase 2 of the project, which comprises a further 82MW.

“Solar is currently the fastest growing power generation technology in the world and essential for us to harness nature’s resources to create an energy system run on clean, reliable and renewable power,” said TJ Hunter, Ørsted senior director of development and operations in the UK and Ireland.

Ørsted has a strong presence in Ireland, particularly in its wind projects. Earlier this year, the energy company committed to develop an onshore wind farm in Tipperary, its 22nd wind farm in the country.

In 2021, the company acquired a 100pc equity stake in Brookfield Renewable Ireland as part of its strategy to turn its focus towards the European onshore wind market.

In terms of solar energy, Ørsted teamed up with renewable energy developer Terra Solar  last year to develop a new portfolio of solar projects in Ireland. The total capacity of these projects is expected to be 400MW upon completion.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic