Image by Sebastian Ganso from Pixabay
A solar power farm at Kyletalesha landfill between Portlaoise and Mountmellick could be used to supplement power produced by panels on thousands of buildings in Portlaoise a new prepared for Laois County Council has proposed.
The Carbon Footprint Study for Portlaoise was carried out by Siemens as the party of the Ireland 2040 Plan which identifies the town of Portlaoise as a national demonstration project for implementing sustainable and community-driven urban renewal.
The study found that the town produces 100,000 tonnes of carbon each year. It found that switching to renewable energy produced by wind turbines and solar panels could substantially cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The report says that to produce the 50 megawatt target from solar power, the total required area for 500,000 (photovoltaic) PV modules is 830,000 metres squared.
It says that at present, Portlaoise has 7,500 residential homes (average roof space 50 m2 on one side of a roof). Siemens said this means that 375,000m2 of the required 830,000 m2 can be met in the residential area.
It says Portlaoise town also has a few large commercial spaces that can be used for PV installation e.g. hospital: 8,880m2, prison: 51,170 m2, Laois Shopping Centre: 23,700 m2, HSE buildings: 10,360m2, schools: 22,970m2.
The report said the 280,000 m2 space needed could be found using multiple options can be explored. It lists: sports field (Laois GAA – 98,500 m2 grass, Portlaoise FC: 38,500 m2 grass, Portlaoise GAA: 15,200 m2 grass, Portlaoise Rugby Club: 79,400m2 grass), Community Facilities (Parish Church and Parish Centre, Portlaoise Leisure Centre, Knockmay Community Building, Portlaoise
Family Resource Centre, LOETB Community Education Service Portlaoise, Portlaoise Enterprise Centre).
If the 830,000m2 surface area cannot be achieved by local buildings, higher coverage of PV may be achieved by building
a smaller solar farm close to the town.
"One potential option is to consider the Kyletalesha Landfill (outside of boundary) where part of ~55 hectares (23 hectares of this consist of closed landfill cells) could be used for a solar farm," it said.
The report notes that an investment of €55 million would be needed to generate power in Portlaoise from solar power.
Read also: LAOIS COUNCIL'S CLIMATE ACTION ROADMAP