Danish renewables developer Ørsted has taken the FID on the first phase of its planned Garreenleen solar farm in Ireland, a move that will mark the company’s first investment in the country’s solar industry.

The 81MW solar farm is situated 15km outside the town of Carlow and is expected to be operation by 2026, Ørsted said in a press statement on Tuesday. Once completed, the project will bring the company’s total operational asset capacity from renewable power in Ireland to nearly 500MW.

The FID follows the project’s win under the government’s renewables support scheme auction, held in September. In the auction round, Ørsted also gained government support for a 40MW wind project. The auction average strike price was $100.47 per megawatt-hour, which is consistent with renewable power prices in other European markets, the company said.

Kieran White, senior vice-president of onshore energy at Ørsted’s European division, said: “Solar energy is an essential component for enabling the Irish power system to run entirely on green energy,” adding that the company is expecting to develop further renewables projects in Ireland.

“Garreenleen is an attractive solar project because it has a short grid route to a strong meshed node in the existing national electricity network, in an area of the grid where constraints are forecast to be low,” he said. “With this investment decision, the project will also install the necessary grid infrastructure to facilitate the connection of a second phase of the project, which we hope to commit to within the next year.”

In September, Ørsted announced plans to develop a 400MW solar portfolio in Ireland in partnership with Irish energy developer Terra Solar. All projects in the portfolio are expected to be operational before 2030, subject to consent for grid routes and offers from the government.

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By GlobalData

As part of its climate and net-zero plans, Ireland has set a target to install 8GW of solar capacity by 2030.