Solar PV (photovoltaics) is set to become one of the most important and fastest growing energy technologies globally to help us meet climate change goals. Irish organisations could capture over €200 million annually of that market due to our research and industry strengths which can be deployed in the sector. That is according to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) which published 'Ireland's Solar Value Chain Opportunity', marking the start of the SEAI Energy Show.
The cost of solar panels has plummeted, dropping by 80% since 2009. In the same period, solar PV has become the fastest growing power generation technology worldwide. By 2030 the European solar PV market alone could be worth up to €10bn annually.
Commenting on the analysis at the opening of the Energy Show in the RDS today, SEAI Chief Executive Jim Gannon said: "The market is beginning to grow in Ireland with over 4,000 homes already opting for solar PV as the most cost effective way to meet building regulations. As system costs have come down, Ireland has also seen an increase in the uptake of solar PV on commercial and public sector rooftops as a means of lowering energy bills. Against the backdrop of the recently published draft 'National Mitigation Plan', renewable technologies such as solar PV have an important role in reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels, and PV is one of the technologies being examined in the context of a future renewable electricity support scheme."
Speaking on the launch of the report, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, T.D. said: "This report, like many others prepared by the SEAI, provides the essential evidence-base for policy makers. It demonstrates the significant reduction in solar PV prices and anticipated continued reduction into the future which should lead to solar becoming more competitive and enabling it to challenge for a greater share of new renewable energy developments."
Gannon concluded, "Rather than being a 'technology taker' Ireland can actually exploit its existing strengths in energy research and industry to capture greater value as this market grows. There are already great examples of successful Irish companies in the global solar value chain. We need to build on this and grow our export potential. For example we can target research funding into materials; process engineering; building materials with integrated solar PV; and smart grid products."
Over the two days of the Energy Show (April 5th and 6th), more than 4,000 energy experts, business owners and professionals from all sectors are expected to gather in the RDS, Dublin to learn about the latest energy saving and renewable energy technologies available to them. The show is free for businesses to attend.
Notes to Editor
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a mission to play a leading role in the transformation of Ireland to a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is partly financed by Ireland's EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.
About Solar Energy
There are two primary types of solar energy solutions available to businesses and home owners; solar thermal and solar PV. Solar PV panels absorb light and use it to create electricity, whereas thermal systems are used directly to heat water or air. When we use solar heat to its full potential in our buildings, we significantly reduce our overall reliance on fossil fuels.
For further information
Rather than being a ‘technology taker’ Ireland can actually exploit its existing strengths in energy research and industry to capture greater value as this market grows. There are already great examples of successful Irish companies in the global solar value chain. We need to build on this and grow our export potential. For example we can target research funding into materials; process engineering; building materials with integrated solar PV; and smart grid products.
The full report ‘Ireland’s Solar Value Chain Opportunity’ can be downloaded here and builds on a previous publication from SEAI ‘Ireland’s Sustainable Energy Supply Chain Opportunity’.
Examples of Irish companies already active in the solar PV supply chain
- NovoGrid: Supported by SEAI in 2016, their electricity control platform can optimise electricity production from renewables, including solar PV.
- DIT Dublin Energy Lab: Also supported by SEAI, have undertaken a number of projects on solar PV including projects on quantum dots and thermal management of Building Integrated PV with phase change materials.
- Nines Photovoltaics – Providing innovative process and manufacturing solutions to the solar PV industry.