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A Farming First for Wicklow!

I was delighted to get the tour of a Wicklow farm with a difference this week – a Solar Farm.

Located on farmland just outside Ashford, Millvale Solar Farm is Ireland’s first grid connected solar farm, generating up to 15 Mega Watts of clean green electricity into our national grid. It can supply enough power to serve 3,600 homes per year and reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions by 4,800 tons and was officially opened by Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan on Friday April 29th on a visit to Co. Wicklow.

The sheep that normally graze these lands can continue to do so and play an important part in keeping the grass low around the solar panels, whilst the solar company behind the project (Neoen) pay land rental to the farmer.

This is the first in Ireland and there is more to come both in Wicklow and across the country.

The Green Party has always led on climate change and on the ambition and vision for renewable energy for Ireland. We matched those ambitions with the Climate Action Act and further actions to accelerate delivery of solar and wind energy.

We have recently brought a new planning and regulation system for offshore wind which will deliver abundant secure clean energy for Ireland towards 2030 and to meet our emissions reductions targets.

We have introduced payments for excess electricity from solar panels located on homes, schools, community centres, churches, or farm buildings. This is called the Clean Export Guarantee.

We have brought in significant grants to assist energy improvements in homes including grants for fitting solar panels.

We have agreed new planning exemptions so you wont need planning permission for solar panels on your roof.

Solar power – clean green electricity from abundant UV sunlight is a big part of our energy revolution and will scale up across the country. This creates jobs wherever there are buildings to retrofit or land to build solar farms. It provides more reliability and resilience in our energy supplies. It helps cut our spiralling carbon emissions to provide a future for our children and future generations.

My Green vision for Wicklow is for it to be a centre of excellence and leader on renewable energy. With Arklow and Wicklow Ports now becoming the first operational and maintenance facilities for offshore wind and the first grid connected solar farm in Ashford, County Wicklow is firmly placed to be that centre of excellence and example for others to follow.



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