Renewable energy developer Ørsted is set to build an 81MW solar farm in Carlow after taking the final investment decision (FID) this week.
The investment will provide the capital to build phase one of Garreenleen Solar Farm, the Danish company’s first solar investment in Ireland.
Located 15km outside of Carlow town, the 81MW solar development will cover 316ac and is expected to be operational by 2026. It will bring Ørsted’s total operational capacity on the island of Ireland to almost 500MW.
The FID follows the project’s successful win under the Irish Government’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme 3 (RESS 3) auction in September 2023.
RESS 3 was a successful auction for Ørsted, with two projects (wind and solar) totalling 124MW clearing. The RESS 3 auction average strike price was €100.47/MWh.
Commenting on the investment decision, senior vice-president of onshore in region Europe at Ørsted Kieran White said: “Solar energy is an essential component for enabling the Irish power system to run entirely on green energy and I’m delighted to confirm that Ørsted now will invest in our first Irish solar farm.“
He continued: “While this will be our first solar project in Ireland, our strong pipeline of other projects, which continue to progress through consenting and grid access, gives us the confidence that more will follow.
“Garreenleen is an attractive solar project because it has a short grid route to a strong meshed node in the existing national electricity network, in an area of the grid where constraints are forecast to be low.
"With this investment decision, the project will also install the necessary grid infrastructure to facilitate the connection of a second phase of the project, which we hope to commit to within the next year,” he concluded.