• There are at least 400 to 600 brownfield sites in Ireland that are available for renewable energy development, says consultancy Dulas in its new 'Opportunities for brownfield site solar in Ireland' report
  • Solar industry is slowly picking up in the country as 2 GW of more solar capacity can be developed subject to grid offer requests
  • The free report believes brownfield solar can deliver up to a tenth of capacity in the next few years

Ireland has the potential to develop 3 GW of new renewable energy capacity, based on an average of 5 MW per site out of 400 to 600 brownfield sites available in the country. These brownfield sites are apart from already available potential brownfield sites, including closed landfills, mines, gas works, tanneries and fertilizer plants that offer potential for solar power installations.

A new report from UK-based consultancy Dulas titled ‘Opportunities for Brownfield Site Solar In Ireland’ states that the country has already installed a number of inaugural solar projects and ‘potentially a further 2 GW or more is subject to grid offer requests’. Yet there is no clarification on the limitations of the grid and if there will be any plans to increase the capacity.

This, however, is the best case scenario as not all land will be suitable for construction, according to Dulas. Managing Director Phil Hornton of Dulas though points out that along with ease of access to these sites and relatively low costs of acquiring the land, other benefits include site flexibility for development of solar power plants or likelihood of existing grid accessibility, among others.

According to the report, “Subject to political will and sufficient financial support, brownfield solar in Ireland has strong prospects for the future and could deliver up to a tenth of capacity in the next few years. The development of the solar energy sector as a whole will potentially have a very positive impact on the Irish economy, growth and employment rates, as well as being likely to attract much additional overseas investment.”

The Irish government has set a target of becoming carbon-free by 2100. By 2020, the country wants to have a 16% renewable energy share in its overall consumption and 10% in transport consumption.

According to Hornton, the development of brownfield sites in Ireland could be a ‘key milestone in the journey to untap the hidden potential of the Irish solar market’. The report also gives an idea to developers on how to go about setting up solar power plants in the country.

To download the ‘Opportunities for brownfield site solar in Ireland‘ report, click here