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Back to Press Releases 12 September 2022

MSD and ESB launch Ireland’s largest Solar project

Dublin, September 12, 2022 – MSD Ireland (tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (NYSE: MRK)) has today announced the official opening of its new solar project at Ballydine, Co Tipperary. The development is Ireland’s largest self-generation solar project.


MSD Ballydine, working with ESB’s Smart Energy Services, has built the 7.3MW ground mounted solar PV array to support the site in significantly reducing its carbon footprint, in line with MSD’s ambitious climate goals. It is estimated that the system will generate approximately 7.9GWh of clean renewable electricity for the MSD site, ensuring up to 20% of the site’s energy requirements are now  coming from renewable energy sources.

Last year, MSD announced its ambitious goals to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations by 2025. These goals build on MSD’s long-standing focus of supporting the global effort to achieve the Paris Agreement goals by reducing demand for energy and minimising greenhouse gas emissions. This project is just one of the many innovative initiatives MSD is developing to reduce emissions across their operations.

Commenting on the opening of the Ballydine solar farm Leo Varadkar TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said: “Congratulations to MSD and the ESB on this ground-breaking project. It’s our responsibility to leave the planet in a better place than we found it. It’ll take a huge effort from all parts of society and enterprise has a pivotal role to play. By investing in Ireland’s largest solar project, which will fulfil over 20% of MSD Ballydine’s energy needs. MSD is taking the lead, while also securing a renewable energy source for its operations into the future, which we know now more than ever is crucial. It’s really fantastic to see such innovation and leadership. The very best of luck to the teams involved.”

Speaking about the launch of the project, Mairead McCaul, Managing Director MSD Human Health and Head of MSD Ireland Country Leadership Team, said: “At MSD Ireland, we’re delighted to announce the launch of our new solar project at Ballydine, which is now providing us with a sustainable source of energy and helping us to meet our climate goals here in Ireland. We’re delighted to partner with ESB’s Smart Services in developing the project, and we look forward to working with them over the next 20 years as we continue to grow our sustainability efforts. We view environmental protection and sustainability as key pillars of how we do business. Our company, both globally and across Ireland, is fully committed to improving our sustainability and environmental performance, in line with global manufacturing aspirations, while continuously challenging ourselves to do more and do better. This new project at MSD Ballydine is supporting MSD Ireland in our commitment to ensuring that in everything we do, we’re making a difference.”

First established in 1976, as the MSD’s first site in Ireland, MSD’s Ballydine develops and supplies the active ingredients and final formulated product for a range of innovative medicines at its manufacturing and R&D facilities. The Ballydine site is MSD’s primary small molecule pipeline commercialisation facility globally, operating as a European hub for quality, manufacturing, and engineering. ​​​​​Its highly skilled workforce leads the way in the development of new medicines, including innovative treatments for Hepatitis C, HIV and immuno-oncology. Operating in Tipperary for over 40 years, the site exports to over 25 countries around the world.

Brian Killen - AVP Operations and Plant Manager MSD Ballydine: “Here at Ballydine, we are very proud of this project and the difference it will make to how we operate and do business, and what we can do to improve our environmental impact. The solar project will enable our site to reduce our carbon footprint by 2,336 tonnes every year and it will play a key part in our overall renewable energy agenda.

Across our global network, we are committed to ambitious goals, including our commitment to a 46% reduction in operations greenhouse gas by 2030, and to source 100% of our electricity from renewables by 2025. These goals build on MSD’s long-standing focus of supporting the global effort to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. As a company committed to environmental responsibility and sustainability, at Ballydine we are delighted to partner with the ESB to help us deliver this project that will help us to achieve our goals.”

Supporting the build, ESB’s Smart Energy Services has delivered a “turn-key” solar photovoltaic power plant. Under the agreement, ESB’s Smart Energy Services has provided the up-front capital required to build, operate, and maintain the Solar PV system, while MSD will pay for the power generated by the solar array through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) over the next 20 years.

Pat Fenlon, Executive Director, Customer Solutions at ESB: “Through our €75 million Smart Energy Services Fund, we are helping organisations such as MSD Ireland deliver critical energy solutions that deliver significant financial and environmental benefits. Delivering Ireland’s largest behind-the-meter solar project is another milestone for our business division, and we are proud to work with MSD Ireland on their ambitious sustainability efforts.”

ESB’s Smart Energy Services offers a range of sustainable solutions to reduce energy costs and lower carbon emissions for large businesses. ESB’s Smart Energy Services has already delivered projects for more than 300 large businesses across Ireland and the UK. Their list of clients includes Tesco, ABP Food Group, Ardagh Group, the Dublin Airport Authority amongst many others.

Fast facts:

  • As a state of the art 7.3MWp ground mounted Solar PV array, the development is Ireland’s largest “behind-the-meter" or self-generation solar project, meaning the energy that is generated at the solar farm is fully consumed at the MSD Ballydine site.
  • The solar farm will supply MSD Ballydine with approximately 7.9 GWh of clean energy in the first year. This is enough to power over 5,000 households with electricity.
  • It is estimated that the system will generate approximately 7.9GWh of clean renewable electricity for the MSD site, ensuring 21% of the site’s energy requirements are now coming from renewable energy sources, contributing to a reduction in energy used from the national grid at the facility.
  • The solar farm will enable MSD Ireland to reduce its carbon footprint by 2,336 tonnes every year. This will equate to a carbon offset over the lifetime of the project (20 years) of nearly 47,000 tonnes of CO2.
  • The annual CO2 reduction from the solar PV is equivalent to over 865,000 litres of Diesel. This carbon saving is the equivalent to removing 1,200 diesel cars from Irish roads.
  • The solar farm will do the work of almost 167,000 10-year-old evergreen trees to offset emissions.
  • ESB’s Smart Energy Services has built a state of the art 7.3MWp ground mounted Solar PV array on the Ballydine site. The facility consists of 11,070, PV modules arranged in tables across the site.


About MSD Ireland

MSD Ireland is one of the country’s leading healthcare companies, having first established here over 50 years ago. We have a dynamic and diverse team of over 2,800 employees currently across six sites in Ballydine, Co Tipperary, Brinny, Co Cork, Dunboyne, Co Meath, Carlow and Dublin, and, in addition, operate substantial Human Health and Animal Health businesses. In total to date, we have invested over $4 billion in our Irish operations and our annual turnover ranks us as one of Ireland’s top 20 companies. At MSD Ireland, we work at the forefront of science and technology to advance manufacturing excellence and R&D across our Irish sites and global company network. With a long-standing footprint in Ireland, our Irish sites manufacture approximately half of MSD’s top 20 products, helping save and enhance lives in over  60 countries around the world.


About ESB’s Smart Energy Services

ESB's Smart Energy Services is a business line within ESB which offers businesses and developers large scale low-carbon energy solutions to reduce emissions and energy usage, leveraging its core engineering and multi-technology expertise. ESB works in Ireland and the UK on major infrastructural projects, bringing together experience as an energy consultancy, energy