Thousands of solar panels have been ordered in the US and elsewhere to supply new power stations, as part of a move to regain control of the global manufacturing of solar cells.
The new orders follow a decision last year to phase out production of solar cell modules from the US to Australia, which has cost the US economy billions of dollars a year.
The move is a response to a surge in demand for the technology in Asia and South America, where demand has been so strong that many companies are now using solar panels to supply power stations.
Solar power in the region has been declining as Chinese demand increases and as global warming pushes the costs of renewable energy to stratospheric levels.
The solar panel industry in Ireland is also struggling as demand has waned in the past decade.
But as a result of the European Union’s “Green Investment Plan” which aims to provide €100bn ($122bn) for renewable energy projects, the sector has been booming, with companies in the United States and Canada supplying almost half the world supply of solar modules.
Solar panels have grown by more than 30 per cent in the last two years, and in Ireland they now account for just 1.2 per cent of the country’s total capacity.
This has been driven by an influx of orders from China, India, and Brazil.
But with demand from the UK’s booming solar market also rising, a number of other countries are also considering using solar power to provide power.
The European Commission has also said that it wants to increase the proportion of renewable power supply from renewable sources to 10 per cent by 2020.
A spokesman for the European Commission said the European Investment Bank and the European Renewable Energy Agency (ERC) are in negotiations on a number other potential sources of renewable financing, including a project in Ireland.
“In addition, the ERC is negotiating the financing for an EU project that will create more than 1,000 new jobs in the Irish solar sector, and will support the development of a large-scale energy storage facility that will help the Irish grid with its peak demand during winter and spring,” he said.
As the solar industry continues to boom in Ireland, there is a growing awareness of the need for new ways of generating electricity.
The country is one of the few countries that has no coal-fired power stations and the majority of its electricity comes from nuclear power.
At the same time, demand for energy storage technology is growing in the EU, with several companies vying for the contracts to store and deliver energy to power stations across the bloc.
The United Kingdom is the largest market for the storage and power generation of wind power and Germany is also a leading market for solar panels.