Solar energy company Lightsource Renewable Energy has developed and connected the first ground based solar power station to be completed on the island of Ireland.
The 4.83 Megawatts peak (MWp) solar farm, at Crookedstone Road, in Antrim, is now connected directly into the private network of the nearby Belfast International Airport – providing 27 per cent of the airport’s annual electricity demand.
“We’re delighted to announce the connection of Ireland’s first large-scale solar farm. The Crookedstone Road solar farm represents another milestone for Lightsource and demonstrates the opportunities that solar energy presents for the whole island,” said Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource.
“The unique quality of solar power is that it is scalable and can be deployed very quickly and efficiently, as demonstrated by this project. This is the new world of electricity supply, which we are calling the solar revolution. Energy intensive businesses can now choose to procure solar electricity with no hassle, and Lightsource remains at the forefront of this exciting paradigm shift,” he said.
The energy from the new solar farm will provide the airport with a source of renewable electricity, reduced energy costs and give a boost to their green credentials – with a saving of 2,100 tonnes of carbon emissions each year – equivalent to taking 469 cars off the road.
In addition, the site will also help to increase local biodiversity levels. Lightsource worked closely with ecologists throughout the planning stages to create a tailored environmental plan for the new solar farm. The site will feature new planting of native hedgerow, wildflowers and the installation of bird and bat nesting boxes around the site. The net outcome will be a site in which a diverse range of flaura and fauna can thrive.
Renewable energy also presents huge opportunity for local investment with the project representing an investment of more than £5 million into the local economy – including use of local contractors and services. The entire project is being funded, installed and operated by Lightsource, with Belfast International Airport buying the clean electricity produced by the solar farm through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).