Friday, March 31, 2023

Why Smart Policy, Not More Sunshine, Will Boost Solar Power Rollout in Ireland

Why Smart Policy, Not More Sunshine, Will Boost Solar Power Rollout In Ireland

Ireland may seem an unlikely candidate to become Europe’s next great solar power powerhouse. After all, while Ireland is famous for many things, great weather is not one of them.

More solar energy is naturally produced in sunny climates, the key element for producing energy from PV (photovoltaic) cells is light level and brightness.

In Ireland, apparently both of these reach peak levels during the summer, but what is often not appreciated is that it is sufficient to generate significant amounts of energy, even on cloudy days. There is light.

Have our climate and misconceptions about solar power contributed to the slow rollout of solar PV on domestic roofs in Ireland?

The government aims to complete 250,000 rooftop installations by 2030. That’s about 1,800 every month. The current level is close to 150 per month. Clearly there is an enormous amount of work to be done on microgeneration.

But the same is true of commercial solar projects. In 2020, Ireland had the second lowest installation of solar PV power in the European Union after Latvia, with an installed capacity of only 92.8 MW. The UK has deployed over 13,500 MW of solar capacity, providing it with 5pc of its total year-round power requirements.

The EU’s Climate Action Plan 2021 before the Ukraine war committed Ireland to a target of 2.5GW of solar by 2030.

Which was conservative even in the pre-war scenario. The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) aims to have more ambition and 6GW of solar by the end of the decade.

This would equal 20 pcs of all our power needs.

It is considered completely achievable in the industry. For one thing, Solr is relatively fast and easy to deploy.

However, solar development in Ireland is not entirely easy. Roughly 40 percent of solar projects in the RES 1 auction in 2020 were successful, but are no longer taking off.

While inexperience and supply-chain issues have played a part, one of the main reasons for this high attrition rate is the high cost here.

Commercial rates are, on average, higher than their European counterparts. The costs associated with transporting any generated electricity, and the operation and safety of the transmission system, can also be significant.

As other countries prepare for solar power, there is a scramble for materials and skilled workers, driving up prices. If solar is to play its part, action must be taken to cut costs and ensure progress is made to complete more and more solar projects.

ISEA estimates that Ireland is already paying €73 for every megawatt-hour of solar power generated, while Spain pays €32. Climate plays a role but so do high network charges.

Irish solar operators pay €26 more than their counterparts for each unit of electricity put on the grid. This does not bode well for consumers or for encouraging the development of solar power in Ireland. If we don’t want the weather to change, we need a climate more encouraging for solar power.

JP Wallace is a Senior Business Development Manager with EDF Renewables Ireland. The company is developing several solar, onshore and offshore wind projects in Ireland.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news