Solar PV Development in Ireland Featured in Solar Business UK
With EU targets to meet and a political will to diversify away from wind, the Irish market has been seen as a potential safe haven for beleaguered UK developers. Nick Holman, director at BNRG Renewables, explains the challenges for deploying solar PV in Ireland.
With the effective shutdown of the UK solar industry in March of this year, many developers and EPCs are looking across the Irish Sea for new opportunities. While Ireland is not renowned for its sunny weather, solar radiation levels are similar to those found in the Midlands and Wales. As such, the rush is on to secure sites and grid capacity in an effort to get first mover advantage despite the fact that a support mechanism is not expected to be introduced before the end of 2016. That support mechanism is likely to be implemented in mid-2017 after it is approved by Brussels under State Aid regulations.
Renewable energy is dominated by onshore wind, which has benefited from a renewable energy feed-in tariff (REFIT) that is at a level significantly lower to that in the UK. To date, solar has been left out of the REFIT mechanism, primarily due to the perception that there would never be an economic case for solar in cloudy Ireland. This view is changing for a number of reasons.