Northern Ireland’s largest solar farm has become operational and is delivering enough energy to power almost 14,000 homes.
The 46MW project at Rasharkin represents an investment of £50million.
With a footprint of 194 acres, Bann Road Solar Farm will provide enough green energy to offset nearly a million tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime.
It is the largest solar project developed in the UK or Ireland in 2017, and is the largest ever solar farm developed and energised on the island of Ireland.
Construction began in December 2016 with Bann Road being energised in March. Irish-owned solar energy company, Elgin Energy originated and developed the project before partnering with international renewables company, BayWa r.e. to deliver the construction and ongoing operation.
Ronan Kilduff, Elgin Energy, Managing Director, said: “The market for electricity generation is inevitably moving towards renewables and Elgin is positioning itself to be the forefront of this transition to a low carbon energy environment.
“This is a red-letter day for the solar energy sector on the island of Ireland. We are very excited that the industry is beginning to grow and develop on this side of the Irish Sea playing its part in addressing the very real challenge of climate change.
“The total output of the projects on which agreement has been reached between Elgin and BayWa r.e. in 2016 now stands at 76MW.”
The farm will make a substantial contribution to the local community. The funds will be administered by the Rasharkin Community Association and the Finvoy Young Farmer’s Association.
Benedikt Ortmann, managing director, BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH, commented: “At 46MW, Bann Road will generate enough green energy to power almost 14,000 homes and we are delighted to have acquired this landmark project from Elgin Energy.
“While we construct and operate solar parks globally, Bann Road marks our first solar project in Northern Ireland and is a perfect fit for BayWa r.e. as we continue to expand our business across Europe.
“The Irish market is in an early stage of development and we expect to see a lot more growth here as Northern Ireland seeks to meet an increasing amount of its energy needs from renewable sources. We would like to compliment Elgin for delivering the project development to such a high standard.”
Closure has also been reached between Elgin Energy and BayWa r.e. on six other 5MW projects dotted across England and Wales.