Posted on Friday 2 November 2012 by Ulster Business


Dwyer O'Neill, chief executive of Amber Green Energy shows First Minister Peter Robinson techology used in Solar Hub 1, with Neil O'Brien, Amber Green Energy's Chairman and Upper Bann MP, David Simpson

First Minister Peter Robinson joined Upper Bann MP David Simpson at Northern Ireland’s new learning hub dedicated to solar energy, which he described in his speech as a ‘first class operation’.

Mr Robinson said Solar Hub 1, a learning hub set up by Northern Ireland’s leading renewable energy providers, Amber Green Solar, was an education for everybody that comes through the doors.

The Minister took a tour of Solar Hub 1 on Beersbridge Road where live demonstration modules were used to show the First Minister and over 20 invited guests how electricity is generated using solar PV panels.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Robinson said: “This is a first class operation. I have been educated today.  What I have learned is that the technology doesn’t have to be testing. It is very easily explained and we have clearly seen here how it can benefit people across Northern Ireland.

“There is a lot of work going on in the sector here and the Executive will be doing everything in its power to support companies like Amber Green Energy. This is the direction of travel and more and more domestic dwellings and businesses will be taking their energy from renewable sources.”

Amber Green Solar, a division of Amber Green Energy, installs Solar Panels, Solar PV [Photovoltaics] to generate electricity and Solar Thermal to generate hot water.  The company has developed a pipeline of over £3.5million worth of residential and commercial opportunities in the last two months and are currently receiving 12 new enquiries every day. This pipeline equates to over 3.3mw of solar power to date.

Representatives from Glen Dimplex, Connex Renewables, Tughans, Clyde Shanks, Craigavon Borough Council, Belfast Met, the Green Party and Cornerfly Management were among people attending.

Leading solicitor Andrew Ryan of Tughans who attended the opening said: “Tughans have taken a lot of action on projects in the renewable energy sector which is continuing to grow in Northern Ireland.

“It is great to see Amber Green Energy open what is essentially an education centre. In this current climate where trading is difficult Amber Green are doing great and we wish Solar Hub 1 well.”

Clyde Shanks, of planning consultancy, Clyde Shanks said: “From our perspective we are doing a lot of work with companies in the renewable sector. Companies like Amber Green are great to work with because they have the passion and drive to make things happen. There is great work going across Northern Ireland with green technologies such as wind turbines, solar and anaerobic digestion plants and anyone working to promote the sector is passionate about achieving results.”

Neil O’Brien, Amber Green Energy’s Chairman, said he was delighted to welcome the First Minister and MP David Simpson to the hub.

He said: “We are delighted First Minister Peter Robinson and MP David Simpson were able to come along to open the hub. Amber Green recognises there is great work going on at the Assembly and at Westminster in relation to promoting green energy in Northern Ireland and we support the incentives offered to encourage the uptake of these greener renewable technologies.”

The company’s chief executive, Dwyer O’Neill, said Amber Green Solar took the decision to open a city hub to create a learning environment which is accessible, welcoming and educational.

Mr O’Neill said: “Energy costs continue to rise and every household and every business in Northern Ireland are challenged by rising energy bills. We are encouraged that more and more people are seeking alternative methods of generating electricity.

 “We have listened to our client’s feedback and one common theme is a lack of practical knowledge out there about how solar panels actually work.

“As a result, we felt it entirely appropriate to create this learning hub where people can see for themselves how solar panels can benefit their lives.

As energy costs continue to rise in Northern Ireland, Solar panels and photovoltaic installation is becoming vastly popular at domestic, business and commercial levels.  Recent analysis has proven that if a system is eligible for the ROCs scheme, households could earn from approximately £1,200 to £1,500 per year in income and savings depending on size of the system.


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