Ireland’s solar energy capacity is set to be boosted with news that the Danish renewables group Obton is to form a partnership with Irish firm Shannon Energy. According to The Irish Times, the collaboration will see the pair spend €300m over three years to develop solar farms in the country.
Creating 1,000 jobs in the process, the farms are set to produce a total of 500MW of electricity using specially manufactured solar cells.
Sites in Cork, Galway, Longford, Tipperary and Westmeath have all been selected as likely solar farm locations with a capacity of 150MW. This would provide enough power for 25,000 homes.
Obton’s chief executive, Anders Marcus, added that it is currently in talks with a number of farmers across Ireland who could provide 2,000 acres of land to install the remaining capacity of 350MW.
As part of the joint venture, Obton will be providing most of the funding, while Shannon Energy will be the boots on the ground to oversee the solar farms’ installation.
Marcus said that Obton was attracted to Ireland because of the Government’s promise of providing financial support for renewable energy schemes in the country, as these types of projects still need a “bit of backup to make sense investment-wise”.
“The way it is structured, with an auction system, is the right way to ensure that people do not pay too much for electricity,” Marcus said.
“Ireland has big ambitions about what it is going to do with renewable energy, so we see a lot of potential there. It is a natural market for us and has a stable environment for investment.”
As part of the Climate Action Plan, the Government is aiming to have 70pc of all electricity produced in Ireland sourced from renewables such as wind and solar.
Obton’s investments in Europe currently stand at close to €1.5bn with a total solar capacity of 719MW. Last year, the Danish firm announced one of Europe’s biggest solar funds worth a total of €1.6bn, which would include Ireland, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
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