SSE Airtricity signs 15-year deal for Ireland’s largest solar farm

27 Apr 201763 Shares

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An aerial view of the Bann Road Solar Farm in Rasharkin, Co Antrim. Image: SSE Airtricity

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SSE Airtricity agrees deal to run the largest solar farm in Ireland.

Irish energy provider SSE Airtricity has entered into a 15-year agreement with German renewable energy developer BayWa.re to provide a solar farm of epic proportions.

Located in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, the site has a capacity of 46MW, which the provider claims will provide enough energy to power 14,000 homes.

The 194-acre solar farm is also expected to generate enough clean energy from the sun to offset 1m tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime.

This makes it the largest solar project developed in Ireland or the UK in 2017, as well as the largest ever solar farm developed and energised in Ireland.

SSE Airtricity is attempting to break into the solar energy stakes in Ireland and now, following this purchase, it has become the second largest provider of renewable energy in the State.

Earlier this year, it developed a smaller solar farm on top of the Odyssey Complex in Belfast, with 1,400 solar panels generating 420kW at its peak.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with BayWa.re for a project of this scale and significance,” said Peter Lord, head of SSE Airtricity market services.

“This agreement allows the solar farm at Bann Road to deliver clean, green energy for customers, while further securing SSE Airtricity’s proud position as the leading renewable energy provider on the island of Ireland.”

Irish solar market in early stages

Meanwhile, Benedikt Ortmann, managing director of BayWa.re, said: “While we construct and operate solar parks globally, Bann Road marks our first solar project on the island of Ireland.

“The market here is in an early stage of development and we expect to see a lot more growth as the island of Ireland seeks to meet an increasing amount of its energy needs from renewable sources.”

Another German energy company making serious headway in Irish renewable energy is E.ON, which announced plans this month to develop a test facility for a unique airborne wind energy system.

Attached to a sea-based platform will be an autonomous aircraft that moves in a cross-wind figure-eight pattern at an altitude from 200 metres up to 450 metres and, with each movement, pulls the tether that drives the generator.

According to E.ON, the test site will generate 2MW of power when fully operational.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com