Lightsource Renewable Energy, Europe’s leading solar energy company, and Belfast International Airport, officially opened Northern Ireland’s first ever large-scale solar farm last week. An official event hosted by both companies was held close to the airport last Thursday, 2nd June 2016 with over 100 guests in attendance, including the New Minister for Economy, Simon Hamilton MLA. This pioneering renewable energy project is also the first ground based solar power station to be completed on the island of Ireland.

The 4.83 Megawatts peak (MWp) solar farm, at Crookedstone Road, in Antrim, Northern Ireland was fully funded by Lightsource and connected directly by private wire into Belfast International Airport. Lightsource predicts the solar farm will provide 27% of the airports annual electricity demand. In the first month of connection, Belfast International Airport has noted their monthly operating costs have been reduced by 23%.

Simon Hamilton MLA, Minister for Economy, said:

“I commend Lightsource and Belfast International Airport for their innovate partnership in working together to harness the power of solar energy to improve energy efficiency and reduce their energy costs helping them to remain competitive in a global marketplace.  It clearly demonstrates how two progressive companies can work together to develop a project which is profitable, beneficial to business and, at the same time contributes to our decarbonisation and renewable energy ambitions.”

Alan Whiteside, Operations Director at Belfast International Airport, said:

“As a business we are committed towards sustainability, and being able to procure solar electricity is a huge benefit, not only towards lowering our carbon footprint but reducing our operating costs and providing pricing certainty for the future. We need certainty of supply, capability of supply but it also has to be the right price and Lightsource demonstrates they are the right long-term partner for us. We were delighted that even on the first day of connection, the solar farm generated more power than we needed, and the airport ran for 9 hours on just solar power alone.”

Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource, said:

“We’re delighted to be working alongside Belfast International Airport on this truly pioneering project and pleased to see a great turn out at our launch event and extend our thanks to the Minister for officially opening the solar farm. This is the new world of electricity supply, where energy intensive businesses can fix electricity pricing for the long-term.”

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uxIjlYDirE