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Belfast's Odyssey outlays its plans to build solar panel on roof to help reduce emissions

By John Mulgrew

Published 27/10/2016

U2 are among the acts which have played the SSE Arena in Belfast
U2 are among the acts which have played the SSE Arena in Belfast

The Odyssey Pavilion in Belfast is planning to build a massive solar plant on top of the building, it can be revealed.

Plans show a solar panel scheme spread across the top of the concert venue, now the SSE Arena, and right across the entire Odyssey complex, which would help power the facility.

It will feature more than 1,200 roof mounted photo-voltaic panels, spread right across the entire building.

The arena has played host to some of the world's biggest acts, including U2, Beyonce, Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen.

The Odyssey Pavilion includes W5 along with several bars and restaurants.

The solar scheme will provide around 6% of the complex's total energy needs, and will generate around 300megawatt hours of electricity each year.

Brian Connolly, general manager, SSE Airtricity energy services, told the Belfast Telegraph: "As naming rights partner of The SSE Arena, Belfast and education partner of the W5 Science and Discovery Centre, we're proud to play our part in assisting the Odyssey Trust with improving their energy management at the Odyssey Complex, focusing on ways to decrease energy use and reduce carbon emissions.

"Already, 100% of the energy we supply to the complex is from renewable sources.

"We believe that we can further significantly reduce the complex's carbon footprint through the installation on-site of a roof-mounted solar photo-voltaic solution which, under the proposals submitted via the planning process to Belfast City Council.

"This would have the capacity to generate over 300 megawatt hours of green electricity per annum, equivalent to around 6% of the total annual electricity load at the complex.

"It's a prospect that both teams at SSE Airtricity and the Odyssey Trust are really excited to be exploring and together we look forward to the decision by the planning authorities."

Documents also show a detailed analysis and study was carried out to determine whether the array would have any reflective impact on aircraft from Belfast City Airport.

In an executive summary, the report says: "The analysis in this report has shown that no significant detrimental impact to the safe operations of aviation activity at George Best Belfast City Airport is expected."

It's the latest major solar project to get under way here, after the Belfast Telegraph revealed Dale Farm's plans to add the multi-million pound solar array last year.

Dale Farm, which is working with CES Energy, will switch to solar power for much of the energy requirements at its cheese processing facility in Dunmanbridge, Co Tyrone.

Work is due to start during the middle of 2017 on the 37-acre site, which will be made up of 18,000 solar modules.

It's estimated the solar farm will provide around a fifth of the company's energy needs.

Last month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed a Co Antrim solar power firm is building a 24-bedroom 'green' hotel that will be powered entirely by renewable energy.

Pearse McHenry, managing director of BHC Distributors, said it will run the new development solely with wind and solar energy.

And Northern Ireland's first large-scale solar farm has been completed in Antrim.

Lightsource Renewable Energy, a major European solar energy company - headed by Antrim man Nick Boyle - is behind the scheme, which will now provide power to the nearby Belfast International Airport.

Those behind the scheme say it will provide as much as a third of the airport's power needs and at its peak capacity could power 1,200 homes.

Belfast Telegraph

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