The Community Virtual Power plant (CVPP) is an INTERREG funded European project undertaken by Tipperary Co Co in association with Tipperary Energy Agency and Community Power.
250kW of PV arrays were installed at four sites, at the Roscrea and Thurles Leisure Centers Thurles Municipal District Offices and Ballaghveny Landfill. The PV arrays at the Ballaghveny landfill site are ground mounted.
A virtual power plant is described as a cluster of energy generating installations in this case PV arrays whose energy production is managed and distributed through a software application, managed on our behalf by Community Power.
The purpose of the pilot project was to demonstrate how community groups could establish their own community based virtual power plant and in doing so raise awareness of the potential of generating their own energy needs from renewable sources. This pilot is an example of an energy micro generation process where the consumers and producers work together to generate their own energy requirements.
As a result, Tipperary County Council has doubled its solar panel capacity to 442kW which also increases energy sourced from renewables.
Any excess electricity generated at the sites will be sold to Community Power, a community-owned renewable energy producer.
A further dimension to this project is the installation of a battery storage unit and energy management system at the Roscrea Leisure Centre, to increase the electricity generated, the battery will store electricity using the nightime electricity rate.
The findings from the pilot indicated that energy can be produced locally at an affordable price and thereby lessening the impact on the environment.
PV arrays will produce an estimated 20% of the energy consumption thereby generating savings on thelectricity bill.