Ireland allocates 497 MW of PV in third renewables auction

28 September 2023

This afternoon Ireland’s Department of the Environment Climate and Communications, in collaboration with EirGrid, published the list of the 23 provisionally successful projects of Ireland’s third RESS (RESS 3) round, comprising wind and solar.

Over 20 solar projects representing 497 MW were provisionally successful, compared to three onshore wind projects representing 148.40 MW.

The largest solar projects include ESB Solar (Ireland) Limited’s 101.1 MW Tracystown Solar Park; Garreenleen Solar Farm Limited’s 81 MW Garreenleen Solar Farm; Manusmore Solar Limited’s 60 MW Manusmore Solar Farm; and Harmony Solar Kilkenny Limited’s 24 MW Clashwilliam Solar project.

The selected developers will be awarded a 15-year power purchase agreement.

The procurement exercise concluded with an average strike price of €0.10047($0.10596)/kWh, according to the EirGrid report, with the total deemed capacity reaching 646 MW.

Screenshot from EirGrid report, published 26 September 2023. EirGrid

“A major expansion of solar energy, in particular, will bring further economic benefits and employment for years to come. Solar energy is dependable and predictable and will play an increasing part in the generation mix out to 2030 and beyond,” the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications’ press release says.

A total of 36 projects applied for the RESS and 33 qualified, as determined by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, the EirGrid report says. Only 31 projects managed to submit prices before the deadline, while eight were deemed provisionally unsuccessful.

Minister Ryan said that while these projects garnered lower volumes compared to previous auction rounds, RESS 3 targeted “mature, shovel-ready projects” that already have planning permissions and grid connection offers. The round also focussed on projects that could be delivered by 2027 latest. A fourth – and “larger” – RESS auction is expected to occur next year, he said.

“The auction results will help bolster energy security and system resilience, contribute to emissions reduction over the second carbon budget period, and continue a steady rollout of renewable energy projects to support our EU renewable targets in 2027 and 2030,” Minister Ryan said.

Ireland has deployed around 680 MW of solar power spread across 59,888 generators to date, according to a recent report by the Irish Solar Energy Association. Most of this capacity originates from seven large-scale plants surpassing 5 MW, totaling 349 MW, and 208 MW from microgeneration solar arrays, encompassing systems up to 12 kW.

The Irish government set a target of producing 80% renewable electricity by 2030.