Ireland’s first large-scale solar farm opens in Wicklow

The first large-scale ground-mounted solar farm to supply electricity to the Irish grid has opened near Ashford in Co Wicklow and is now operational.

The Millvale Solar Farm incorporates 33,600 solar modules covering 25 hectares of land.

It was developed by Neoen, a leading independent producer of exclusively renewable energy, and has a generating capacity of 8 megawatts of electricity.

That’s enough to power approximately 3,600 homes each year.

It is estimated that the electricity it generates will prevent 4,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

It is the first of many solar projects to reach commercial operation under the Government’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme.

Formally opening the solar farm, Environment, Climate and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan said the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is one of the main policies set out in the Government Program and Climate Action Plan to address Ireland’s climate challenges in the coming years.

“It supports the growth of the green economy, creates sustainable job opportunities and benefits citizens, as renewable energy becomes more profitable and replaces fossil fuels such as coal and peat,” he said.

“Historically, Ireland has had a unique reliance on onshore wind power for our renewable electricity.

“With RESS 1, we seek to create technological diversity and promote the emerging solar industry in Ireland. I am delighted to see energy from Millvale – this is Ireland’s first grid-scale solar project under RESS.”

Minister Ryan said this was a “key starting point” in the plan to install up to 2.5 GW of solar power in the electricity system by 2030.

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