Northern Ireland set for solar revolution with new funding offer

The renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland has received a welcome boost this week with the launch of a new fully-funded solar solution which could save businesses up to £320m.

Kingspan ESB – a joint venture between building technology firm Kingspan and Ireland’s largest energy company ESB will make photovoltaic (PV) energy available to businesses without the investment normally required in the capital outlay, installation or maintenance of a PV system.

The funding solution unlocks cost savings of more than £320m over the next 25 years – £5.6m each year – along with significantly improved sustainability and environmental credentials for local businesses.

It should also play a significant role in Northern Ireland reaching its target of 40% renewable generation by 2020.

Cost savings

ESB executive director Paddy Hayes said: “Funded Solar represents a significant step forward for the development of the Northern Ireland renewable energy industry. This collaboration will continue to innovate and deliver sustainable and competitive energy solutions for all our customers. We look forward to ESB and Kingspan working together to help businesses in Northern Ireland to manage energy costs sustainably.”

Kingspan ESB will design, install and maintain solar PV systems, optimised to each business customer’s building and requirements. The electricity generated by each system will then be used onsite and purchased by the customer at much lower rates than would otherwise be supplied from the grid.

Northern Ireland businesses will be able to fix a portion of their electricity cost indexed to RPI, rather than be exposed to annual utility inflation rates. The potential savings to local businesses would increase year on year throughout the period of the lease, if electricity prices increase.

The average medium-sized business in Northern Ireland (consuming 400MWh of electricity per year) would see a 10% reduction in their electricity bill – the equivalent of £5,800 each year – through the scheme. Business customers will also benefit from better energy efficiency and carbon credentials; enhancing the value of property assets for owner-occupiers and landlords.  

Warm welcome

Kingspan Insulated Panels managing director Gilbert McCarthy said: “By removing the financial barrier to the adoption of rooftop solar PV, our fully funded solution strengthens the case for businesses to benefit from green, lower cost power and improve their long-term competitiveness.” 

Northern Ireland’s Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “For many businesses, the costs of purchasing and installing renewables require substantial investment. That is why innovative initiatives such as Kingspan ESB’s Funded Solar are to be very much welcomed. 

“This initiative demonstrates how two progressive companies can work together to develop a scheme which is not only profitable, but beneficial to wider business whilst at the same time contributing to our decarbonisation and renewable energy ambitions.”

Luke Nicholls


Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie