New report shows how solar could be a smart choice for Dublin

Investing in solar energy production can pay for itself in just 7-13 years. This is one of the key findings of an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge report which Dublin City Council has published today.
Other key findings include:
  • Dublin is a good location to produce solar energy because of the amount of daylight the city enjoys 
  • Solar can only deliver on its potential if it benefits from the same incentives that have helped grow the production of other renewable energy sources in Ireland
  • Solar increases our energy security as it can be produced and used in the same location
  • Solar can play an important role in helping Ireland meet an EU requirement to provide 16 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020
To mark its commitment to the report, the first comprehensive study of solar energy production and use in the capital, Dublin City Council has also announced that it will install solar panels on the Civic Offices on Wood Quay and four Dublin City Public Library buildings in 2015.
The solar panels will produce approx. 20 per cent of the energy at each library and save Dublin City Council an estimated €21,000 in energy bills. Subject to surveying and final confirmation, Coolock, Ballymun, Cabra and Raheny libraries will be fitted with solar panels. The €250,000 initiative is part funded by the EU ACE INTERREG IVB project, which aims to promote the benefits of renewable energy in communities.
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Dublin report makes a series of findings about how Dublin City Council can harness solar energy to save money on its own energy costs and also on how it can promote greater use of solar energy in the city. The full report is available now on
Owen Keegan Dublin City Council’s Chief Executive says “Dublin City Council participated in the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge because we wanted to explore if solar could help us meet our energy needs more economically and efficiently. On behalf of the council I welcome today’s report which contains very useful recommendations on how solar can be applied in Dublin city.”
Speaking on the publication of the report Peter O’Neill, Managing Director, IBM Ireland said, “This strong commitment by Dublin City Council to implement the recommendation of IBM’s Smarter City Challenge is setting an example for other cities. Throughout the challenge Dublin City Council demonstrated an eagerness to collaborate with multiple stakeholders and to seek the most feasible and beneficial solution for the citizens of Dublin. This is a smart strategy for a smart city.”
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a philanthropic grant programme that aims to help cities around the world deal with pressing municipal problems. Through the grant, IBM experts visit and work with city organisations providing consulting services valued at $500,000 over a three-week period. IBM Smarter Cities Challenge took place in October 2014, after Dublin successfully competed to be one of only 16 cities selected globally from over 100 applications.
For Further Information please contact: 
Press pack:
To read the report and view images:
Dublin City Council Media Relations Office T. (01) 222 2170, M. 087 740 0277.
Further details
Among the key recommendations for Dublin City Council are:
  • The city’s climate and technological improvements in generating solar energy make Dublin a very suitable location for using solar energy. This would mean that financial investment would be recouped in a 7-13 year period. The council should evaluate the potential of its 430 buildings to generate solar energy and assess the savings that could be made by installing solar panels
  • Identify other facilities, including parks, that could generate and use solar energy
  • Use the next Dublin City Development plan to actively promote greater use of solar and other micro energy generating technologies in the capital
  • Take measures to drive the wider use of solar energy in the city. These include advocating a solar renewable feed-in tariff (REFIT) which would allow domestic and other small scale solar energy producers sell surplus energy to the national grid
  • Lead a proactive awareness campaign to encourage greater use of solar energy in businesses and homes 
  • Dublin City Council will work closely with the energy agency Codema and other stakeholders on how solar can be used more widely in the community through an innovative citizen engagement programme which the council and Codema will roll out in Dublin City Public Libraries. 

Here are just some of the interesting things we learned from the IBM Smarter Cities Dublin report:

  • The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive requires Ireland to meet 16 per cent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2020
  • In 2010 Dublin City Council launched a Sustainable Energy Plan (SEAP) which committed it to a 33 per cent energy reduction by 2020
  • Dublin City Council currently uses 220 Giga Watt Hours (GWh) of electricity every year
  • Dublin is a suitable location for solar energy. It receives a similar amount of solar irradiance (daylight) as Leipzig in Germany which is home to Waldpolenz Solar Park, one of the world’s largest solar electricity plants 
  • Unsurprisingly, Dublin is more suitable for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) production than solar thermal which relies on solar heat
  • Solar PV is also scalable as new micro technologies make it possible to use it to provide energy for domestic homes and small businesses
  • Ireland currently imports 85-90 per cent of its energy needs, mainly from oil and gas
  • Renewable energy provides 7.1 per cent of our energy needs with 46 percent and 43 per cent of this figure coming from wind and biomass respectively
  • Both wind and biomass benefit from a REFIT tariff.