ESB Networks announces one Giga Watt of solar PV now energised on Ireland’s electricity network

ESB Networks can confirm that it has 1,000 MW (one Giga Watt) of solar PV generation connected to Ireland’s electricity network.

This figure includes 500 MW of utility-scale solar connections, 369 MW of which is from larger projects connected to the transmission system, managed by EirGrid. The figure also includes 300 MW of microgeneration (mainly domestic rooftop solar) and 200 MW of non-exporting solar generation.

One Giga Watt of solar power is enough to power the equivalent of approximately 400,000 homes when it is sunny. For context, peak demand on Ireland’s electricity system is approximately 5.5 GW.

Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan TD says: “The ‘rooftop revolution’ has seen solar panels becoming an increasing feature across every town and suburb of the country, providing clean, indigenous electricity on over 82,000 homes. This rapid scale up in micro- and small-scale generation has been mirrored in the rapid growth in the connection of utility-scale solar farms. Since I launched the first solar farm in Co Wicklow in May 2022, there has been a major acceleration in the deployment of solar farms, providing new income streams to farmers, supporting jobs and benefitting communities across the country. Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in Ireland’s journey to 8GW of solar connections by 2030 and shows that even in ‘cloudy Ireland’ we can harness our homegrown green resources to power homes and businesses.”

Welcoming the reaching of the milestone, Nicholas Tarrant, Managing Director of ESB Networks says: “Enabling the connection of 1,000 MW of clean solar power onto Ireland’s electricity network is a significant collective achievement for ESB Networks, our solar industry partners and indeed the 82,000-strong cohort of microgeneration customers across Ireland. This scale of connections is underpinned by our sustained investment in a cleaner, more resilient, and more flexible electricity system. It is reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and ultimately delivering the electricity network for Ireland’s clean, electric future.

Conall Bolger of the Irish Solar Energy Association says: “Reaching one Giga Watt of connected solar is a major milestone both for Ireland’s fight against climate change and for our solar industry. Meeting our climate action targets requires a significant contribution from solar electricity, connecting 1 Giga Watt less than two years after Ireland’s first solar farm was energised demonstrates the genuine potential of solar. There is a strong pipeline of new solar farms currently under development and we must continue to support this momentum to enable Ireland to achieve its goal of 8 GW of solar by 2030.”