Ireland could reach one GW of cumulative solar capacity by the end of this year, according to new figures from the Solar Energy Association of Ireland.
The majority of this capacity comes from seven large plants above 5 MW, for a total of 349 MW, and 208 MW from micro-generated solar panels, covering systems up to 12 kW. Small-scale ground-mounted solar power plants for self-consumption bring another 95 MW, while mini-generation systems with power ranging from 12 kW to 50 kW produce 5 MW.
Ireland currently has 22 MW of utility systems (1 MW to 5 MW), 0.3 MW of systems from 200 kW to 1 MW and 0.54 MW of systems with a capacity of 50 kW to 200 kW.
“By the end of 2023, ESB Networks predicts that nearly 1 GW of solar energy will have been connected from domestic rooftops to utility-scale solar projects,” the organization said in a statement. “This makes the solar industry the fastest growing renewable energy industry in Ireland.”
Ireland supports rooftop electricity that operates under its net metering system through a rebate program. The system is designed to use approximately 380 MW of solar power.
The country also supports large-scale solar energy through an auction mechanism. In the first renewable energy auction, the Irish authorities awarded 796 MW of production capacity. The average weighted Bid price of the technology-neutral auction was €0.07408 (€0.08)/kWh.