Since the prospect of a Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) was first raised in 2015, solar developers have been closely watching the market in Ireland, to see if it could be a natural stepping-stone from the recent UK boom-and-bust phase. Last month the much delayed scheme was approved by the Irish government and is now awaiting EU state aid approval. The first auction is expected to take place next year with construction of the first round of projects to be completed by the end of 2020. Since 2015, solar developers have been submitting applications to connect to the distribution network through the utility provider ESB. The pipeline of solar projects submitted to ESB quickly grew to 1.6GW by the end of 2015 and had more than tripled by the end of 2016 to reach 5.2GW. The number of new applications slowed in 2017 with no sign of the RESS appearing but still over 1.2GW in new projects was submitted in 2017. While the total pipeline is in the multi-GW range, just over 270MW of sites have both planning permission and a grid connection contract from ESB or Eirgrid; this is made up of around 40 individual sites.
Solar Power Portal 16th Aug 2018 read more »