17ha solar farm planned for Carlow

Plans are in the pipeline for a new solar farm on 17ha of land in Co. Carlow.

Elgin Energy Services Ltd. has applied to Carlow County Council for planning permission for the development at Ardnehue and Friarstown.

A Natura Impact Statement has been included as part of the application.

Solar farm development

The 17.6ha area would comprise photovoltaic panels on ground mounted frames; an on-site 38kV substation; 10 single-storey inverter/transformer stations; security fencing; a palisade double security gate; and two storage containers.

The company also wants permission to install CCTV, a temporary construction-stage wheel wash system and all associated development works.

The planning application seeks permission for the solar farm for a period of 10 years (and an operational period of 40 years).

A decision is expected from Carlow County Council before the end of March 2021.

Popularity of solar farms

Solar farm applications to local authorities have been increasing in recent months, as Ireland aims to reach its climate goals by 2030.

Recently, an attempt by environmental group, An Taisce, to prevent a biogas plant being set up in Co. Cork was unsuccessful.

An Bord Pleanála upheld a decision by Cork County Council to grant planning permission for the replacement of agricultural structures at Corracunna and Garryleagh, Mitchelstown, with a central gas injection facility.

The development is being spearheaded by Gas Networks Ireland and construction is already underway.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, is going to bring forward planning exemptions for solar PV which he now expects to be introduced by the end of March.