Ireland’s largest photovoltaic solar panel project has just been completed. 9 public buildings throughout County Tipperary have been kitted out with massive solar panel arrays totalling 800 panels. Such buildings include fire stations, libraries, civic offices and a leisure centre.
As a result of this project Tipperary County Council project, Ireland’s total PV capacity has been increased by 44%.
The main difference between photovoltaic panels and solar thermal panels is that PV directly converts the sun’s light into electricity. Solar thermal panels heat hot water from the sun’s energy. PV systems have some significant advantages over solar water heating systems in that they are easier to design, install, operate and maintain.
Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council said “Tipperary County Council will continue to prioritise energy efficiency and reduced energy consumption in our buildings and facilities throughout the county. We are already some 6 years ahead of schedule and expect to achieve our 2020 target in 2014. Working with the Tipperary Energy Agency and others, our focus for the remainder of this decade will remain on energy efficiency and renewable energy in the homes, communities and businesses across County Tipperary”.
This investment in renewable energy will see average savings of 11% on electricity costs for Tipperary County Council. 50% of this project investment has been funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Paul Kenny, CEO of Tipperary Energy Agency, who project managed the work said “With solar PV prices tumbling over the past decade and electricity prices rising, it was only a matter of time before solar energy was cheaper in Ireland. It’s time that we started playing catch-up with Germany and other EU countries. I expect to see Solar PV play its part in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon, secure and prosperous economy.”