Ireland welcomes 420 kW rooftop solar array, largest in country


Butlers Chocolate in Ireland has installed a 420 kW Solar PV system on the rooftop of its chocolate production headquarters in Dublin. This is one of the largest rooftop solar energy generating system in the country, and a positive investment in a bid to engage with the country’s largely untapped solar PV market.

South Korean PV manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells provided its Q.PRO G4 modules, which numbered 1,590 in total, while the array was installed by Gaelectric Energy Solutions DAC, an Irish EPC partner of Hanwha Q Cells.

The chief aim of the installation is to deliver cheaper energy generation cheaper for Butlers Chocolate, which will allow the firm to lower its overheads and become more competitive. The rooftop array will meet approximately 14% of Butlers Chocolate's base load electricity requirement, said Daire Friel, business development manager for Gaelectric Energy.

For Ireland in general, the installation is yet another step towards helping the country achieve its goals in terms of renewable energy in line with the EU 2030 energy package, which states that all member nations must have at least 27% of their energy generation met by renewables by 2030.

Not only would Ireland be in line with the EU's renewable energy ambitions, but it would allow the country to become cost-competitive with its other energy sectors, which would benefit the economy and the environment, and would proliferate the development of an Irish solar industry capable of mass production and installation of solar PV across the country.

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According to KPMG in a report to the Irish Solar Energy Association, the deployment of solar PV has the potential to add €2 billion of gross added value to the Irish economy and sustain 7,300 jobs annually, which would also be in line with the government recovery programme after having led the country out of one of the deepest economic crises in the country’s history.

In a recent Friends of the Earth report, climate expert Joseph Curtin argued the positive case for the introduction of a support scheme for residential rooftop PV in Ireland – a path to PV growth seen as eminently viable among most energy experts.

Author: Frederic Brown

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