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Case Study

Northern Ireland's largest solar farm

Setting the scene

Bann Rd is Northern Ireland's largest solar farm, and it’s playing a fundamental role in providing renewable energy to the local communities.

The 45.7MWp project in county Antrim generates enough energy to power almost 20,000 homes. And during its lifetime will offset nearly a million tonnes of CO2.

Thanks to a long-term PPA with SSE Airtricity, local residents can be sure of a steady and stable supply of green power. For Northern Ireland, this means a significant increase in its renewable energy capacity and greater local access to green energy.

Meeting the Challenge

The 194-acre project had to be complete by March 2017, giving us just a few months to turn around a very complex installation, split across two sites.

The very rural nature of the location and construction during the winter months, put the team through their paces. With average rainfall reaching up to 200 mm every year, the conditions were always going to be challenging.

To withstand the waterlogged ground, we installed special DURA-BASE-matting, which literally ‘floats’ over the mud. This enabled us to erect an impressive 4000 panels per day, and stay on schedule.

We saved both time and money by connecting the sites via a single grid connection, taking advantage of the cluster substation next to the site.

With farming integral to the local economy, we designed the project so the land could still be used for agriculture. By elevating the panels to 0.8m above ground, livestock can still graze, enabling the two to happily co-exist.

Getting the result

Bann Rd was completed on schedule, despite harsh conditions and a challenging deadline. It’s performing well in terms of yield, generating 851 kWh/kWp.

The national grid operator, NIE, has full control of the site, thanks to a unique BayWa r.e. developed control system. With a command reaction speed of 600ms, the DNO can monitor site performance on a second by second basis. Combined with detailed weather forecasts, they’re able to effectively plan their other resources on the grid.

Now that Bann Rd is fully operational, our professional operations and maintenance team is ensuring optimum performance and yield, providing 365 days per year data monitoring, premium access to spares, and expertise in HV & LV electrical operations.

Our Power Purchase Agreement with BayWa r.e. allows the solar farm at Bann Road to deliver clean, green energy for customers, while further securing SSE Airtricity’s proud position as Northern Ireland’s leading renewable energy provider.

Peter Lord
Head of SSE Airtricity Market Services

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