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In January 2022 Bagenalstown AFC set out on its programme of developing its facilities. They urgently needed to replace the floodlighting on the training area. They decided that as well as leaving a sporting legacy for future generations, they should also leave an environmental one. It was decided that the floodlights could and should be powered sustainably.

With information and advice from South East Energy Agency, and the Bagenalstown SEC, they were successful in seeking approval for funding under the Leader Programme from the Carlow Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) and the County Carlow Development Partnership (CCDP).

The clubhouse has 8KW of solar panels on the roof. These will produce, on average over 7,000kw’s of electricity each year.

Bagenalstown Afc Now Powering Clubhouse With Solar Installation . 2

As the club operates mainly in the evening under lights, the solar power generated during the day is stored in two 3.5KW batteries.  So, in the evening, after the sun is gone down, the batteries are able to supply their stored solar electricity to power the lighting. Even in the depths of winter the batteries are useful as, if the weather is consistently bad, not giving a chance for the batteries to be charged via solar during the day, the battery can be charged from the grid at off peak hours and discharged when you wish. This can still halve your electricity costs.

The solar panels also act as a revenue stream as any excess electricity exported back to the grid will now be paid for by the electricity supply company.

The joy of this system is that it is passive. There are no moving parts to go wrong or that need servicing. Once set-up correctly this system self regulates and each of the important actions spoken about above will occur automatically, without any input from an operator. This is why solar is a perfect long-term solution as, once set up properly, it will give you 25 – 35 years of electricity.

One year later the system is up and running and generating clean sustainable energy to meet all the energy needs of the club, so much so that they are already selling excess energy back to the grid. It has received hugely positive feedback from the community and is acting as a catalyst for people in the community to consider installing solar panels themselves.

Find out how your community can become an SEC and develop renewable energy options in your area.?