800 photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on 9 public buildings across County Tipperary are saving the County Council €30,000 a year.
The panels were installed by the Tipperary County Council on fire stations, libraries, civic oficers, and the Nenagh leisure centre. The project increased Ireland’s total PV capacity by 44%. However, new data is now showing that the panels are producing 10% more power than was first expected.
The project cost the council €330,000 to complete, but at their current rate of production they should be able to produce enough electricity to pay for themselves after only six years.
“The council is very pleased with the results that are now emerging after only one year,” Tipperary chief executive Joe MacGrath said. “We would recommend to others that they should actively consider PV as part of their cost, efficiency and sustainability goals.”
Paul Kenny from the Tipperary Energy Agency said the council had been a “catalyst for change” in energy conservation. Prior to the installation of the panels the Energy Agency has worked on improving insulation levels, replacing windows, implementing low energy lighting, replacing old heating boilers with biomass boilers, installing heatpumps, and implementing further smaller changes.
As part of the tender criteria set out for the installation of the panels, their maximum output must meet the minimum daytime consumption of the building. It was also required that public displays be visible to add education value to the project. The displays show real time production, cumulative total kWh, annual cost and the CO² impact of the solar panels. Visitors can see this data on both a daily and weekly basis.