• Dublin Airport has installed 268 solar panels to power its water reservoir system
  • The 500 million litre capacity reservoir provides water to both passenger terminals, along with offices and businesses on the airport campus
  • Energy company ESB was hired by Dublin Airport’s operator daa to install the solar panels
  • Dublin follows an increasing number of airports going solar, in particular in India

Ireland’s Dublin Airport has opted to power its water reservoir system with solar PV. It has installed 268 solar panels on top of the system to suffice more than half of the reservoir’s annual energy requirements.

The reservoir is critical to the functioning of the airport as it provides 500 million litres of water to both passenger terminals, and all the offices and businesses on the airport campus. Dublin Airport itself supports and facilitates over 119,200 jobs in Ireland and contributes €8.3 billion ($10.22 billion) to the country’s economy.

Energy company ESB was hired by the airport operator daa to install the solar systems. ESB provides capital funding, energy management services and implements energy projects for large energy consuming businesses.

Over the last two years, ESB’s Smart Energy Services has gained considerable interest from companies such as daa with high energy demand and is set to deliver €150 million ($184.6 million) in savings on energy costs for over 300 large businesses in Ireland and the UK by 2020,” said ESB Chief Executive Pat O’Doherty.

Together the two firms are aiming to achieve 33% reduction in energy consumption at the airport by 2020. “Over the past three years Dublin Airport succeeded in reducing its carbon footprint by 5,000 tonnes, which is equivalent to a 10% reduction in carbon emissions under its control,” said daa Chief Executive Dalton Philips. The daa is eyeing more energy savings now.

Solar power at airports is becoming in increasingly popular. The leader in this field is India, where the Airports Authority of India plans to install a total of 146 MW of solar power capacity at 16 airports across the country, as announced by the government in July 2016 (see Cochin Airport gets 2.67 MW Solar Carport).

And what about solar in Ireland in general?

Ireland aims to have 40% share of renewable energy in the total energy mix by 2020. It is now wanting to implement an auction scheme to be able to meet the binding 2020 EU renewables target (see Ireland Heading Auction Way). According to the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA), Ireland is the only EU member state that has not been able to offer a support mechanism for solar, despite the fact that it is the cheapest form of renewable generation after on-shore wind in the country.

However, the solar industry in Ireland is ‘ready to deliver – with over 1.8 GW of applications to connect to the grid being processed or awarded and over 1 GW with planning awarded and another 1.1 GW with planning pending. Put together, solar can add between 1.5 GW or 2 GW of solar by 2021, said ISEA Chairman David Maguire in a statement to the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment in January 2018.