Ireland’s largest solar PV project completed in Kilkenny
Solar Electric Ireland has just completed the largest solar PV installation in a single location in the Republic of Ireland.
The 250kW system, installed at vegetable producer and wholesaler O’Shea Farms in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, runs to 1,000 panels and is installed on the roofs of two refrigerated sheds.
Robert Goss of Solar Electric Ireland says that the company worked with a hand-picked team which included local electricians and roofing contractors to get the job completed in time. Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency managed the project and helped with the process of securing a Better Energy Communities grant from SEAI.
“With a project like this,” Goss explains, “we’re matching base load with the system. O’Shea Farms has a large refrigerated potato store, which obviously takes quite a bit of cooling. We analysed the amount of electricity that’s used across a seven-day period, and our 250kW installation is sized to cover that base load, so that we’re never exporting. That’s our objective, to use everything that’s made onsite.”
Goss points out that a commercial enterprise like O’Shea Farms is particularly well suited to solar PV because the company’s power requirements are continuous, consistent and predictable. The system is oriented along an east-west axis, which works as well as a southern orientation in Ireland. “The east-west configuration produces more output in the morning and evening and less of a midday peak, and that’s preferable for most users,” says Goss.
This project represents a significant milestone for Solar Electric Ireland, as it is the first time the company has been able to import two full container loads of modules from Germany; previous consignments were small enough to come in on a single pallet. The company’s growth delivers significant transport efficiencies, which are feeding through to prices.
“So if someone got a quote from us this time last year,” says Goss, “we would be able to offer much better value this year.”