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New Solar Energy Farm to Provide Over 10% of Dublin Airport’s Annual Electricity Needs

More than 10% of Dublin Airport’s current annual electricity needs will soon be provided by a new 9MWp solar farm under construction on the airport campus.

Airport operator, daa made the announcement while welcoming Jack Chambers, Minister of State for Transport, on a visit to the 28-acre site located close to the south runway and visible from the R102.

A total of 11,000 solar panels have been installed to date by Enerpower, one of Ireland’s leading providers of renewable energy solutions, with a total of 15,000 overall to be installed by the end of September. The solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are a clean and renewable energy source, converting sunlight directly into electricity using PV cells and emitting no greenhouse gases or pollutants.

Once completed and commissioned this autumn, the solar farm is expected to generate 7.46GWh per annum, which is 11.8% of Dublin Airport’s annual consumption and the equivalent of powering approximately 1,600 houses for a year.

This is sufficient to cover the electricity needs of the entire airfield, with excess electricity contributing to the energy needs of the airport terminals and campus.

This renewable energy source will help Dublin Airport meet its commitment to reduce its direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 51% by 2030, which aligns with the public sector targets set as part of the National Climate Action Plan, and ultimately towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Dublin Airport’s capital investment plan, together with the Infrastructure Application submitted to Fingal County Council in December 2023, identify a suite of projects that will provide sustainability benefits with investments totalling €400m. 

Andrea Carroll, daa Group Head of Environmental Sustainability, said: “The scale of this project marks a sizeable investment in future energy at Dublin Airport and a big shift away from fossil fuels. Solar energy is just one of the projects we are evaluating to reduce the direct emissions of our airport operations. As a key part of the aviation industry, we will continue to do everything that we can to make our airports sustainable for now and the future, and to support initiatives reducing emissions across the industry.” 

Vincent Harrison, daa Chief Commercial and Development Officer, said: “Ireland is a small, open island economy and aviation has been an essential engine of our economic growth and prosperity for more than 80 years. The challenge now is to transform into a zero-carbon industry as quickly as possible, while continuing to meet our mandate to support Ireland’s connectivity needs. While the aviation industry doesn’t have all the answers yet, daa is committed to halving the emissions under its direct control and today’s announcement is further evidence of the progress we are making. We have allocated €400 million to innovative sustainability initiatives and look forward to announcing more ambitious projects.” 

Dublin Airport is reviewing a second phase of the solar farm project, which would be a similar order of scale and located on the airport campus. To appropriately incorporate the solar installations and other related renewable and alternative fuel technologies, the airport is in the process of completing a thermal storage project and actively pursuing battery energy storage solutions (BESS).

Cork Airport is also progressing plans for solar power onsite.

It is designing an elevated solar farm over the existing ‘Holiday Blue’ surface carpark which will be submitted for planning in the next 12 months.

It is intended that this 1.8 MWp solar farm will deliver up to 30% of Cork Airport’s energy needs when complete.

Cork Airport is the best performing commercial semi-state body in the State, as measured by SEAI in terms of energy saving, for the last two years in succession and has implemented energy-saving measures including a full LED replacement on campus, renewal of all the runway lighting with low-energy alternatives, a new state-of-the-art electrical substation, energy management and monitoring software, and replacement of light fleet with electrical vehicles.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.

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