Tipperary County Council confirms 250kW solar expansion

5 Nov 2020

From left: Kieran McKenna, Tipperary County Council; Alan Jackson, Tipperary Energy Agency; and Sarah Fogarty, Community Power, at the solar array at Ballaghveny Landfill in Tipperary. Image: Tipperary Energy Agency

Tipperary County Council has said it will add a further 250kW of solar panel capacity, including at a landfill site near the town of Roscrea.

Expansion plans for a major solar energy project have been confirmed by Tipperary County Council, which will double its solar panel capacity and generate enough electricity to power 50 homes.

In 2014, 800 photovoltaic panels were installed on fire stations, libraries, offices and leisure centres across the county, and now a further 250kW of capacity will be added through four generating sites, including on two leisure centres and a ground-mounted array on a landfill site near Roscrea.

So far in 2020, Tipperary County Council said the energy generated from these panels has saved the council more than €19,000 and has reduced carbon emissions by 41 tonnes. Community-owned renewable electricity supplier Community Power said it is looking for homeowners and businesses to purchase the renewably generated electricity.

“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,” said John Fogarty, co-founder of Community Power. “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.”

Tipperary County Council’s head of environment, Marion O’Neill, added: “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.”

Good time for solar

A report last month from the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that supportive policies and maturing solar technologies are enabling very cheap access to capital in leading markets and solar power is now consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas-fired power plants in most countries.

The agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020 report said that many solar projects now offer “some of the lowest-cost electricity ever seen”.

At the time, Dr Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, said: “If governments and investors step up their clean energy efforts in line with our sustainable development scenario, the growth of both solar and wind would be even more spectacular – and hugely encouraging for overcoming the world’s climate challenge.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic