Ireland set for another 400 MW of solar

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The International Renewable Energy Agency estimated Ireland had 40 MW of grid connected solar capacity at the end of 2020.

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The first sites among 400 MW worth of solar project capacity planned in the Irish counties of Cork and Wexford are expected to start generating around the middle of 2023.

That timeline was offered up by French-owned, Dublin-based renewables developer Power Capital Renewable Energy today as it announced it had acquired a majority stake in 400 MW of projects under development by Irish firm Terra Solar.

A press release issued by Power Capital – which was bought by Parisian private equity firm Omnes Capital in November – did not reveal what majority stake the Dublin developer would hold in the solar portfolio, nor how much it had paid for the controlling interest. The company did, however, estimate capital requirements of around €200 million to build out the project capacity, with that sum to be provided by Omnes and commercial loans, and to be invested over “the coming two to three years,” according to Power Capital director Peter Duff.

Construction is expected to start next year with the first plants set to be operational in mid 2023 and the portfolio to be fully built by 2027.

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Terra Solar co-founder David Fewer said his company will retain a holding in the 400 MW portfolio, which it will develop alongside Power Capital, and also has a further 600 MW of solar in its pipeline.

“These sites represent over four years of intensive local engagement with landowners, communities and planners to ensure that Ireland develops high quality solar farms to help meet its 2030 renewable targets,” said Fewer, quoted in the press release. “From the outset, our priority has been to ensure that these sites are constructed to the highest standards to benefit all stakeholders and we are delighted to have found such a strong, long-term owner for these sites, in PCRE [Power Capital] and their French partners, Omnes Capital.”

The Irish government has announced an ambition to have 70% of its power generation fleet based on renewables this decade. The International Renewable Energy Agency has estimated the EU member state had just 40 MW of grid-connected solar capacity at the end of 2020.

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