Business

Irish firm Elgin Energy reveals plans for major solar farm near Coleraine

Elgin Energy's latest solar farm proposal centres on a 104-acre site in Macosquin, near Coleraine.

THE Irish company behind the north's largest solar farm has revealed plans for another major project on a 100-acre site near Coleraine.

Elgin Energy completed the £50 million Bann Road solar project near Rasharkin in 2017.

The 194-acre site is capable of generating 46MW, enough to power 14,000 homes.

Now the renewable energy firm is proposing a 29.9MW project on a 104-acre site at the Letterloan Road in Macosquin, close to Northstone Materials' head office.

It's located less than four miles from the 110-acre site where Elgin Energy secured planning approval for a 25MW solar development five years ago.

Elgin Energy currently has six solar projects either completed or in development in the east Derry and Co Antrim area. It has dozens more across the Republic and Britain.

The company, founded in 2009 by Dublin man Ronan Kilduff, is headquartered in London, but has bases in Dublin, Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Kilduff's Belgarve Square Holdings ultimately controls the company along with Danish investor Quay Investments.

Serial Irish entrepreneur Tony Kilduff is Elgin Energy's chairman.

Last week Elgin Energy announced that it had raised £25 million to fund solar power and battery storage projects capable of generating around 5,000MW of electricity by 2025.

The money raised through a funding round organized by Irish-based Focus Capital Partners followed reports in August that the German Berernberg Bank had pledged to loan the Irish company £29m for projects in Ireland and Britain.

The company has appointed planning consultancy RPS as agents for the latest project in the north.

A pre-application notification was submitted to planning officials at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in respect of the proposed solar farm at Macosquin last week.

The application is the first step in major projects, triggering a community consultation phase ahead of the formal submission of a full planning application.

It comes as the Department for the Economy revealed a decline in the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources for the year ending September 2021.

The 42.1 per cent share from renewables was down 5.5 percentage points on the previous year.

The Utility Regulator revealed last month that power generation from wind dropped by 62 per cent in July 2021.

The north's renewable energy sector remains massively reliant on wind power. Of the power generated from renewable means in the year ending September 2021, 82.4 per cent was derived from wind.

Solar power generated just 3.9 per cent, behind biogas (6.6 per cent) and biomass (4.9 per cent).

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