The interest and appetite for Solar Power in Ireland was evident today at the sell-out “Ireland’s Solar Energy Future” conference hosted by Energy Cork at the Clarion Hotel, Cork.  More than 350 national and international delegates attended the event from investors, developers, policy makers, farmers and energy operators, to hear about the future of Solar photovoltaic (PV) in Ireland.

“The recent White Paper on Energy Policy published by the Department of Energy, Communications and Natural Resources acknowledged that Solar is part of the solution for the generation of zero-carbon electricity in Ireland.  ESB Networks recently received almost 300 solar grid applications (297), with the highest density of applications coming from County Cork (61).   A “game changer” for the sector has been the significant decrease in cost of solar PV accelerating the market opportunity for the sector.  These factors combined demonstrate how the industry is poised to develop solar power for Ireland,” explained Michael Quirk, conference chair and Energy Cork Chairman.

“The interest in this event no doubt acknowledges the appetite for solar power in Ireland. As well as clean and renewable power, the potential for job creation is also very significant, when all the services, from operation and maintenance, insurance, site security and service businesses. The possibilities for solar PV are endless – across industry, Agri and domestic,” he added.

Speakers included John Mullins, Chair of Port of Cork and CEO of Amerenco, Thomas Döring of Solar Power Europe, David Maguire from Irish Solar Energy Association, Ivan Codd from ESB Networks, Eamonn Murtagh from the CER and Rebecca Kelly from BNRG. Robert Goss of Solar Electric Ireland, Philip Bazin of Triodos Bank, Thomas Ryan from the Irish Farmers Association, Martin Howley from SEAI and Cera Slevin of ESB Solar also spoke at the event.

Solar PV has become one of the most dynamic sectors in the European renewables electricity market in recent years. This is due to an increase in demand for clean energy and a sharp decrease in the price of Solar PV technology. In 2015 the ESB invited Solar PV grid applications for solar farms which they hope to start rolling out by 2016.

“To date the ESB have received more than 1GW in Solar PV applications which is incredible. Its shows that there is a serious appetite to grow the industry here,” said Kieran Lettice, Cluster Manager of Energy Cork.

The Irish Government has acknowledged that Ireland has to accelerate the development and diversification of renewable energy generation in order to meet EU sustainability goals and cited solar, offshore wind and ocean technologies as the future of the long-term clean sources of energy,” he added.

Organised by Energy Cork, this was the largest conference on solar power held in Ireland devoted to the discussion of the solar photovoltaic industry.