Exciting news this week in County Kilkenny, the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency (CKEA), O’Shea Farms in Piltown and Solar Electric are working on installing the largest Solar PV installation in the Republic of Ireland. O’Shea Farms have a year round electricity demand from refrigerated cold storage. They supply fresh produce to supermarkets across the country all year around. They plan to meet this base load demand with the installation of 250kWp, covering 1,569m² of roof area on and meeting 11% of the total site electricity demand. This project will set O’Shea Farms as the leaders in solar power generation in the Ireland. Jane Wickham, Paddy Phelan and Nigel Kwenda of the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency are working closely with O’Shea Farms on the project management of this installation. The Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency was successful in applying for 20% grant for the capital cost of the project through the Better Energy Communities from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
The project received a lot of interest from multinational companies when Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency put it out to tender in early August. The contract was awarded to Solar Electric Ireland Limited from Co. Wexford. O’Shea Farms are currently in the construction phase of the project. Solar Electric Ireland have already delivered an order of 160kW worth of solar panels onsite and construction is to start this Thursday 1st October. The installation and commissioning of the project is expected to be completed by the end of October 2015.
The main advantages of onsite solar power generation at O’Shea Farms are as follows;
- Solar energy coincides with energy needs for cooling during the summer months. Therefore, a Solar PV System can provide an effective solution to supply energy during peak demands especially in hot summer months where energy demand is high.
- Solar power generation is carbon neutral hence; it will firmly ground O’Shea Farms’ sustainable practice credentials.
- Solar power generation does not require a primary energy source attributed with conventional power generation methods. Therefore, it reduces O’Shea Farms’ exposure to fluctuating energy prices.
- Solar power generation requires little to no operational and maintenance costs compared to other renewable energy technologies.
- On completion the 250kWp installation will be Ireland’s largest single Solar PV installation setting O’Shea farms as leaders in solar power generation in Ireland.