Posted on Wednesday 23 January 2013 by Ulster Business

Amber Green Energy

Dwyer O'Neill, chief executive of Amber Green Energy, discusses solar PV for farms at seminar for farmers

Over 150 people from the farming community attended renewable energy seminars in Tyrone to hear about the best solar technologies available to help farmers cut their electricity bills which will in turn help Northern Ireland meet its targets in reducing its carbon footprint.

The event, hosted by leading renewable energy provider Amber Green Solar, a subsidiary of Amber Green Energy, organised the event because farmers making enquiries said they were unsure of the process of setting up solar PV on their farms and what technology was best to use.

Farmers from across Tyrone, Armagh, Newry, Fermanagh and Co Down got involved in three seminars which took place during the event at the Cohannon Inn.

Dwyer O’Neill, chief executive of Amber Green Energy, said the event was hugely successful because farmers were able to get much sought after information directly from Amber Green Energy and their partners.

He said: “What struck home to us most is that farmers, from across Northern Ireland,  clearly have a strong interest in developing solar on their farms but felt they did not have the relevant information which would take them through the stages of the process and about the different quality of panels available in the marketplace. The seminars held throughout the afternoon provided farmers with the most up to date information about planning, the law, technology and general advice.”

“We gave a presentation on how farms can invest in Solar PV in 20 & 50Kw scale, how systems can be leased, or provided free via the Amber Green Roof / Ground lease scheme. Representatives also discussed the viability of large scale solar farms on 30 acre land holdings with access to sub stations and the grid.”

Attending the event was David Trimble, a Renewable Energy Technologist at Cafre,CollegeofAgriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise.

He said: “There were tremendous numbers there which shows how strong farmers feel about embracing greener solutions. The positive for me is that an expert was there fromEnglandwho discussed the problems with some of the technology available in the marketplace and highlighted the importance of choosing quality products as opposed to cheaper ones. It was a fantastic event which was essential in delivering quality information for farmers.”

Andrew Ryan, Partner at leading law firm Tughans said: “Tughans was encouraged to see the extent of interest in Amber Green’s presentation and in the opportunities presented by solar PV development inNorthern Irelandamongst the agricultural community. We are at the forefront of renewables development at all scales across the region and we look forward to assisting Amber Green in rapidly developing its business in this sector.”

Robert Goss of Connergy said the interest in solar energy among the farming community inNorthern Irelandis clearly very strong.

He said: “The fact that more than 150 farmers turned up shows how much they want clarification of the benefits of the subsidy and also seek to take control of energy costs for years to come.

“We were there to explain what we have learned during our 14 years working in this sector. Solar modules vary greatly in quality and for this type of 20 year investment we suggest farmers select the premium made inGermanyproduct. We look forward now to providing advice and back up, whether it is for 10 kWp (40 modules) on a barn roof or 5 MW (2,000 modules) for a ‘solar farm’.

James Welsh, of SIAC Wind Energy, agreed and said the turnout was exceptional.

He said: “Amber Green Solar offered a well balanced programme of events , giving the attendees a professional , informative and interesting serious of presentations with the opportunity for an in depth question and answer session at the end of each presentation.

“With the main focus of the event and the majority of prospect interest being on 'solar' products , the SIAC Wind Energy role was more of a supporting role to assist prospects where they had an interest in tandem with a solar PV project  and from that perspective we had a very successful event with interest in wind turbines , in what currently is a quiet period for the industry , being far in excess of  our expectations, generating several very interesting opportunities.”

Any farmers wishing to register an interest in future events can do so by calling 028 9073 9076 or by emailing  info@ambergreenenergy.co.uk

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