Belfast International Airport has announced it has saved £100,000 on its energy bills in the 10 months since the switch was flicked on the neighbouring Crookedstone Road solar farm.
The £5m Crookedstone Solar Farm was developed by Lightsource Renewable Energy and is connected to the airport by a private wire under a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement.
In the wake of last year’s cuts to solar subsidies, developers maintain private wire projects where the power generated by a solar installation is used on site continue to offer significant financial benefits for companies.
The Crookedstone project is said to be providing over one quarter of the airport’s annual power needs, with the site able to run entirely on solar power at certain peak times.
The £100,000 of energy cost savings recorded to date are expected to increase over the summer as the solar farm enters the optimum months for power generation.
The project is also expected to deliver annual greenhouse gas emissions savings of 2,100 tonnes – equivalent to taking 469 cars off the road.
“The solar farm project has exceeded all expectations,” said Belfast International Airport’s operations director, Alan Whiteside. “From switch-on in March to the end of the year, the ‘ballpark’ savings were over £100,000… The project is consistently delivering a reliable ‘green’ and cost-saving energy supply for the airport. No other airport in either the rest of the UK or Ireland has a similar energy source and we’re delighted with its operation.”
His comments were echoed by Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource, who urged more businesses to take advantage of private wire solar connections.
“We worked hand in hand with the team at Belfast to deliver a project which would meet their needs,” he said. “Not only has this project significantly reduced their emissions, it has significantly improved their bottom line. That’s the benefit that a Lightsource Private Wire agreement can deliver for a business.”