Louth County Council is delighted to have added to their existing renewable energy installations with 2 new solar panel systems now increasing their installed capacity to 30kW.
“The installation of new solar panels at the Town Hall and Civil Defence facility is a great example of how generating our own renewable energy can reduce costs and tackle carbon emissions,” said Padraig O’Hora, head of the Sustainable Energy Section at Louth County Council.
“At a time of great market uncertainty and price inflation we have effectively paid up-front for the electricity these systems will generate over their 25-year lifetime. This creates guaranteed price stability of on average 13 cents per unit when many businesses and homes are now paying 24c. While this energy crisis may be short term it heralds the rise in the risk of being dependent on fossil fuels.”
The council first installed solar panels back in 2014 at the County Museum and then again in 2017 at County Hall. Having monitored these projects, they have seen how well they perform, the clear benefits and how easy they are to install and maintain.
Padraig continues, “We see the solar panels consistently outperforming their predicted electricity generation. Even with our Irish weather pattern they work well and are providing clean energy that can be utilised in council buildings.”
As system costs reduce they have looked for more opportunities for renewable energy projects. These have included a recent air source heat pump for County Hall, a renewable technology that is likely to play an increasing role in heating our homes and buildings.
“The council is committed to playing our part when it comes to addressing issues related to climate change and sustainable energy”, said Ursula Conlon, Executive Planner at Louth County Council’s Sustainable Energy Section.
“Our participation in the OPW’s Optimising Power @ Work campaign has yielded significant energy reductions. Making our buildings as energy efficient as possible is the first step to ensure, when we plug renewables in, it will have the maximum benefit.”
The council has built a team internally to focus on energy related issues and enable them to continue to make progress in this area. They are firm believers in the benefits of staff engagement programs to increase awareness of energy and environmental issues for their colleagues and the public. They have several events planned, including one to highlight renewables and provide advice to colleagues on their suitability for their own homes.
Speaking about working with Louth County Council Declan Rajasingam, an Energy Advisor from the Optimising Power @ Work campaign, said “Louth County Council have shown great leadership by embracing energy efficiency and in looking towards renewable energy for their future energy needs. They are taking sustainable steps towards achieving the requirements set out in the government’s Climate Action Plan 2021, to achieve a 51% reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and getting on a path to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.”
As our society’s energy transition gathers pace, local authorities will play a growing leadership role in demonstrating the technological and psychological journey to meet our net-zero goals. The council has nominated Dundalk as a Decarbonising Zone and is already working in partnership with stakeholders (e.g. industry and communities), to incrementally decrease dependence on fossil fuels and replace these with zero carbon-based solutions that meet the needs and expectations of society.