French subsidiary, EDF Renewables has energised its first three solar farms in Ireland, located in Wexford and Kilkenny. These three utility-scale solar farms have a combined capacity of 17MW and are capable of providing electricity to 6,600 homes.
They are among the first to be developed under the Irish Government's Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) and to be connected to the national grid.
Curraghmartin Solar Farm in Carrigeen, Co. Kilkenny, Coolroe Solar Farm in Ballycullane, and Blusheens Solar Farm in Killinick, both in Co. Wexford, are the first projects to be completed following EDF Renewables' acquisition of Wexford Solar in 2020. The acquisition included eight projects with over 100MW of capacity across the country.
All three projects won in Ireland's first RESS auction, allow them to supply electricity at a pre-agreed fixed price.
In addition, EDF say that sheep will continue to graze on the site to control vegetation and the three solar farms will reduce over 9,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
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” he said.
EDF Renewables Ireland's head of development, Jenny Howard, highlighted that solar energy plays a vital role in ensuring a diverse, low-carbon energy mix and safeguarding Ireland's own electricity supply. The solar farms will also provide funding for community projects and initiatives through Community Benefit Funds.
Conall Bolger, CEO of the Irish Solar Energy Association, welcomed the energisation of the projects and praised EDF Renewables for contributing to Ireland's decarbonisation goals.
EDF Renewables Ireland is a subsidiary of the French electric utility company, Électricité de France (EDF). In 2020, EDF acquired 50% of Codling Wind Park, a significant offshore wind farm that will be located off the coast of Co. Wicklow, with a dedicated team currently developing the project.