Lightsource Renewable Energy, a leading British developer of clean energy projects, has brought online 38 MW of solar PV capacity in Northern Ireland, bringing the firm’s portfolio in the country to 44 MW.
This latest tranche of solar power comes via a 32 MW project that comprises a network of five sites, linked by a single connection to the Northern Ireland electricity grid. Each of the five solar sites are between 5 MW and 10 MW and all are located in County Antrim.
An additional 6 MW solar site at Millar Farm in Antrim has also begun generating power, Lightsource has confirmed.
The target for the Northern Ireland government is to boost its renewable energy generating capacity to meet 40% of the country’s power needs by 2020. Last year, Lightsource opened the nation’s first large-scale solar farm near to Belfast International Airport, and the developer confirmed that there are more solar projects in the pipeline.
Completed following a close dialogue with community leaders, the five connected sites – located at Lough Road, Moira Road, Belfast Road, Knockcairn and Hillside – were built with local biodiversity in mind. Lightsource worked with ecologists to create a tailored environmental plan for each solar farm, which included the planting of native hedgerow and wildflowers, with bird and bat nesting boxes installed in and around each site.
“This is the most significant solar development on the island of Ireland to date,” said Lightsource CEO Nick Boyle. “Domestically generated solar energy has an important role to play in relation to meeting Northern Ireland’s energy needs.”
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