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Ireland Set for Solar Energy Revolution: Embracing Renewable Power Sources..

Dublin: Ireland is witnessing a burgeoning solar revolution, with solar power making significant strides in contributing one GW to the National Grid within just two years of operation. This milestone underscores the vast potential of solar energy in Ireland.

Aligned with the Climate Action Plan’s objective of sourcing 8 GW of electricity from solar by 2030, it is projected that 12,000 hectares of land would need to be dedicated to solar fields. Given Ireland’s ample agricultural landmass of 4.6 million hectares, this target appears readily achievable.

Fergus Sharkey from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) notes that the complementary nature of wind and solar energy—more wind in winter and more sun in summer—will facilitate the attainment of this national energy goal. Last year, renewable energy sources accounted for 41.5% of electricity generation, with solar contributing 2.9%, as reported by AirGrid.

Farmers, comprising a significant portion of landowners in Ireland, are increasingly optimistic about embracing the solar revolution. They view solar energy as an opportunity for diversification and securing the future of their farms. Developers are offering attractive incentives to farmers, making land leasing for solar projects financially appealing.

For many ageing farmers, solar leasing presents an attractive alternative as they contemplate transitioning away from traditional farming. Developers prioritise farms close to substations and high-voltage lines, offering lucrative deals for such locations, further incentivising farmers’ participation.

Crucially, solar installations only require a fraction of the land, leaving ample space for agricultural activities such as goat rearing. Moreover, post-contract, land can be easily reverted to agricultural use without hindrance.
The rapid ascent of solar energy in Ireland contrasts with the gradual growth of wind energy, highlighting the swifter trajectory of solar adoption. While wind energy took years to reach significant grid penetration, solar has achieved remarkable progress within a short span, signifying a promising future for renewable energy in Ireland.

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