EDF Renewables has energised its first three solar farms in Ireland. The three solar farms, which are located in Wexford and Kilkenny, have a combined capacity of 17MW and will power the equivalent of 6,600 homes.
They are among the first utility-scale solar farms to be developed under the Irish government’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) and connected to the national grid.
Curraghmartin Solar Farm is located in Carrigeen, County Kilkenny, while Coolroe Solar Farm, in Ballycullane and Blusheens Solar Farm, in Killinick, are both in County Wexford. The projects are the first to be completed following EDF Renewables’ acquisition of 100 per cent of Wexford Solar in 2020, which included eight projects with over 100MW of capacity across the country.
All three projects were successful in Ireland’s first RESS auction, enabling them to supply electricity at a pre-agreed price.
In addition to the solar panels, sheep will continue to graze on the site, helping to control the growth of vegetation, and the three solar farms will together save over 9,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
Jenny Howard, Head of Development at EDF Renewables Ireland, said: “We’re very proud to have developed some of the first solar farms in Ireland. Solar energy has a crucial role to play in ensuring Ireland has a diverse, low-carbon energy mix and can safeguard its own supply of electricity.
“These three projects mark another step towards achieving the government’s target of 8GW of solar energy by 2030, and each will also make a positive local contribution, providing funding for community projects and initiatives via the Community Benefit Funds.
“I’d like to congratulate our entire team on the successful delivery of these projects, and we look forward to supporting the continued growth of Ireland’s emerging solar sector in the years to come.”
Stephen Wall, landowner at Curraghmartin Solar Farm in Kilkenny, said: “Developing solar is a win-win for farmers like myself and can really benefit the agriculture sector and farming communities.
“I receive rent in return for the panels, and can continue to graze sheep on the land, so the site is producing both food and renewable energy.”
Welcoming the energisation of the projects, Conall Bolger, CEO of the Irish Solar Energy Association, said: “Ireland urgently needs solar electricity to meet our climate action targets.
“Through exciting developments, such as the Curraghmartin, Coolroe and Blusheens Solar Farms, Ireland is now embracing its solar potential.
“I congratulate the team at EDF Renewables on what is another positive milestone for the solar industry, as these projects will immediately contribute to the decarbonisation of our electricity supply.”
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