Bord na Móna business, Powergen Development, is currently assessing the potential for utility scale grid connected solar power projects. Utility scale solar power is generated with Photo-Voltaic (PV) solar panels which are typically mounted on frames above the ground, facing a southerly direction and at an angle which maximises solar energy capture.
The potential for Grid Connected Solar power plants could be significant on Bord na Móna’s lands. Solar PV technology has seen a significant reduction in the cost of the underlying technology over the last decade, primarily driven by global government support tariffs for solar derived electrical energy. There is continued speculation that technology costs will fall further in the coming years as well as possible future increase in solar panel efficiencies.
Solar PV generation is not currently supported by Irish renewable support mechanisms, but this could change in future renewable energy support schemes. Solar PV could diversify the current renewable generation portfolio, reduce the variability of renewable generation and increase Ireland’s indigenous generation of electrical energy.
Bord na Móna has many sites with high potential for grid connectivity and low environmental impact. The development team has commenced a number of work streams including the deployment of a solar resource assessment station at Ballykean bog, and will progress development work on a demonstration project during 2016.