Ireland's first solar farms could be operational by the end of 2016, according to solar energy firm Amarenco chief executive John Mullins.
The company has secured a €180 million investment deal from one of the world’s largest infrastructure investment banks, Sydney-based Macquarie, for a 50 per cent share in the business.
“They have come in for 50 per cent of the business, so we are developing it and they are financing it,” Mr Mullins said. He was speaking at the International Energy Research Centre conference in Cork.
Amarenco plans to build up to 30 solar farms across the south of the country.
"We've applied to the ESB for connection capacity for a number of them already, we are still engaged with landowners, we've got designs done, specific plans and we are now supported by . . . Macquarie," Mr Mullins said.
The solar farms will cover about 25 acres each and employ 40 workers in construction over a four-month period for each individual farm.
The majority of the solar farms (18-20) are planned for Co Cork, with others located in south Co Tipperary, south Co Kilkenny, west Co Waterford and south Co Wexford.
“Certainly you will see a number of planning permissions going in this year, with an expectation of hopefully having a tariff next year and building out next year and into 2017,” Mr Mullins said.