Kingspan Energy unveils largest rooftop solar PV array in Ireland
Solar provider Kingspan Energy has installed Ireland's largest rooftop solar PV system on a manufacturing plant in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
The 4,800 module system will generate 1.1GW of electricity a year, meeting 30% of the energy requirements of the plant.
The facility is actually operated by Kingspan Environmental – a separate division of Kingspan Group – meaning solar power will be used to make more solar thermal panels and other environmental products.
The installation – which took around 12 weeks to install – consists of 4,844 modules in total, covering 18,000m2 of the building's roof.
"There has never been a better time for businesses to benefit from renewable generation that makes the most of an otherwise unused asset – their roofs – especially with the removal of the capital cost barrier from the equation," said Gilbert McCarthy, managing director of Kingspan Insulated Panels.
The system was installed under a fully-funded model, with Kingspan Environmental bearing no capital cost. In return for this investment, the company will purchase the electricity generated by the PV array at a reduced rate compared with current grid-based prices. Future prices will rise in line with inflation.
The system was installed alongside a new energy-efficient insulated panel roof which will improve the thermal performance of the factory.
The insulation and PV installation are part of Kingspan's target to be a zero-net user of energy by 2020. The Group has an interim goal of ensuring 50% of its energy demand is met by renewables by 2016.
Last October Marks and Spencer's announced the fitting of the UK's largest single-roof solar system – a 24,000-panel leviathan generating more than 5,000MWh of electricity per year.
In the same month, a study by Kingspan Energy revealed that installing solar PV on just 61% of the nation's 2,500sq.km of south-facing commercial roof space, would meet the total electricity demand of UK companies.
The head of energy supply at Marks and Spencer, Gio Patarello, will be giving a talk at Sustainability Live on the subject of saving money with better enregy procurement. Find out more and register for the conference for free, here.