'I am getting the same prices as I was 25 years ago' - Tillage farmer on switch to solar
My week... Robert Wilson Wright
A planned 50-acre solar electricity facility at his Coolcarrigan tillage enterprise in Co Kildare is Robert Wilson Wright's main pre- occupation these days. It could remain a personal preoccupation unless the Government gets around to deciding what subsidies should apply to alternative solar energy projects.
The innovative farmer has full planning permission for the project from Kildare County Council, but has more bureaucratic obstacles to overcome.
"The Government is supposed to make its decision on subsidies by the end of the first quarter of this year which is just in a few days now," Robert says with the air of a man who knows that deadline is unlikely to be met.
And once the Government eventually makes the decision on the renewable energy source, more bureaucratic hurdles await - not least how and when ESB will export his electricity to the national grid.
The Wilson Wright solar farm, when operational, would produce 10 megawatts of electricity which will be exported to the national grid.
"We will not need this electricity for the farm so it will all go to the grid to help the Government to meet its commitment to produce 20pc of the nation's energy from alternative and renewable sources, he explains.
But for the moment "seeing will be believing" for this Kildare farmer who is a little unclear about how the Government intends to achieve this mandatory renewable energy target.
The Wrights have been tillage farmers on the Prosperous side of the Bog of Allen since the 1830s. Robert is helped on the farm by his son Michael (36) and wife Anna. The couple's daughter, Sophie (34), is married to a farmer in England.