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Carey Glass powers into the future with renewable energy


The recent addition of a new solar PV array on the roof at Carey Glass in Nenagh ensures that up to 13% of the local company’s energy requirements come from a renewable source.

After almost 60 years of business, the latest addition to the family-run Nenagh premises sees it making significant strides towards its future. The size of a sports pitch, the combined solar array is the largest roof-mounted installation in the country.

It was featured in the Irish Times earlier this month in an article that looked at how large energy users have partnered with the ESB’s Smart Energy Services to help them reduce energy consumption and costs, as well as significantly reducing carbon emissions.

The largest independent glass manufacturing plant of its kind in Europe, Carey Glass employs more than 750 people across Ireland and the UK. It manufactures high performance glass solutions for major projects, ranging from architectural facades to advanced insulating glass units, laminated, heat-treated, digitally-printed and ceramic glass.

The Irish Times feature noted that viewers of popular TV show ‘Great House Revival’ will have seen Careys’ Vista Therm high-performance triple-glazed units play a starring role. But elements of glass manufacturing are highly energy-intensive, which is why Carey Glass recently embarked on this new solar project.

ESB’s Smart Energy Services delivered the project from start to finish, from planning and grid approval to installation and commissioning. And, as it is an ESB-funded project, the company is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system for the length of the project term.

The solar photovoltaic (PV) array will generate approximately 2.4GWh of clean renewable electricity for the Carey Glass site.

“We had looked at installing a solar PV array several times over the years,” commented Vicki Carey, Energy Team Lead at Carey Glass. “Given the large roof space, it was a massive investment at a time when PV panel prices were much higher.”

Carey Glass started working with ESB’s Smart Energy Services in early 2021. The ISO 50001-accredited Nenagh company had already completed the installation of LED lighting throughout the factory and was developing an energy plan for the coming year.

Ms Carey spoke of a seamless process from planning to installation. The project was undertaken in conjunction with ESB’s Smart Energy Services, installer Grange Solar, and Carey Glass’ in-house energy team. It will bring financial as well as environmental benefits to the company for years to come.

“From a forward-budgeting perspective, having 13 per cent of our energy costs hedged for 20 years is a massive comfort factor and will further drive us to implement more energy efficiency projects,” Ms Carey stated.

Carey Glass Energy Team Co-Lead Mark Rushe said the energy savings would make the business more commercially sustainable too.

“We compete for business across Europe and USA, and Ireland has some of the highest energy prices in Europe.

“This gives us an extra edge of competitiveness in Europe,” he said.

“Climate change is at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” Mr Rushe added. “Though it is not the reason we implemented the changes, it has reflected well on our company to be seen as an energy-efficient company.”