Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man's solar energy business powers its way into US

By John Mulgrew

A renewable energy giant headed by a Co Down man is expanding its growing business into the US. Nick Boyle runs Lightsource Renewable Energy, Europe's biggest developer of industrial-scale solar projects.

It built Crookedstone Road Solar Farm for Belfast International Airport under a 25-year agreement that will provide 30% of the terminal's electricity.

After 10 months in operation, Aldergrove has saved £100,000 in energy costs as a result of the scheme.

Lightsource employs 300 people and is based in Holborn, London, with offices in Belfast and Dublin.

It was established in 2011 with just six employees. The company has announced its North American management team that will lead its expansion into the US energy sector.

The San Francisco-based team is chief executive Tim Derrick, chief operating officer Kevin Christy and chief compliance officer Katherine Ryzhaya.

Founder and chief executive Nick Boyle said: "We're very pleased to welcome Tim, Kevin and Katherine to the company.

"Their knowledge and expertise within the North American large-scale solar and storage sectors is a perfect addition to our team and puts us in an ideal position to move at pace into the market.

"We are uniting two of the most successful teams in the solar industry and I firmly believe that we have the potential to shape the future of global energy."

The firm's UK arm has grown into a business building and developing more than £2.4bn worth of solar projects alongside investment partners.

Belfast International operations director Alan Whiteside said its new power source had proved a major success.

"The solar farm project has exceeded all expectations. From switch-on in March to the end of the year, the ballpark savings were over £100,000," he said.

"The project is consistently delivering a reliable green and cost-saving energy supply for the airport.

"No other airport in either the rest of the UK or Ireland has a similar energy source and we're delighted with its operation." One of Lightsource's projects - and Northern Ireland's biggest solar development - was turned on just last month.

Lightsource said the project would provide more than 32 MW of clean energy into the grid - enough to power 11,000-plus homes. The project is made up of a network of five sites in Co Antrim.

Belfast Telegraph