Statkraft starts work on Republic’s biggest solar electricity generator

Norwegian energy group Statkraft has begun building the Republic’s biggest solar-powered electricity generator in Co Meath.

Statkraft plans to build a 200 mega watt solar plant in Ballymacarney, Co Meath, that the utility says could generate enough electricity for up to 40,000 homes.

Kevin O’Donovan, managing director of the group’s Irish business, confirmed that it was breaking ground on the project, believed to be the biggest of its kind in the Republic.

Planners gave Ballymacarney the go-ahead in 2018 while it qualified for backing last year through the Renewable Energy Support Scheme, which guarantees prices to such projects to encourage their development.

The power plant will begin generating electricity by the end of next year, Statkraft said in a statement.

‘Low-impact’

Mr O’Donovan noted that solar was “low-impact, low-maintenance and a very predictable form of energy”.

Donal O’Sullivan, head of development at Statkraft Ireland, said the company had an another 450MW of solar projects with planning permission that it hoped to build over the coming years.

The Norwegian state owns Statkraft, which says it is Europe’s biggest renewable energy developer.

The energy giant said recently that it would seek backing for six Irish wind farms in the next round of the State’s green energy support scheme. The State is offering up to €2 billion in support to electricity generators over the next decade through the Renewable Energy Support Scheme in a bid to meet 2030 carbon-reduction targets.