A community in Claremorris is “lighting the way” towards an increase in the use of renewable energy with approval being given by Mayo County Council for a second solar farm to be developed in the western region.

A community-led project by the Claremorris and Western District Energy Co-Operative, the approved renewable energy farm will be based at Streamstown and will be one of two to be developed in the area.

The solar farm will span over 11ha and will consist of 34,300m² of solar photovoltaic panel arrays that are on mounted steel frames. It will also have electricity control cabins, a boundary fence, a site entrance, landscaping and CCTV.

This project is an example of many that are being developed around the country. The Claremorris and Western District Energy Co-Operative was set up five years ago in a bid to develop more community-led projects and promote sustainability in the area.

The cooperative, which is focused on developing renewable energy projects, is a member of Community Power, Ireland’s first community-owned renewable electricity supplier.

The government will be implementing a new action plan for energy efficiency, outlining in the Programme for Government that “the use of a reliable supply of safe, secure and clean energy such as solar energy is essential in order to deliver a phase-out of fossil fuels”.

As part of that, a solar energy strategy will be developed for rooftop and ground-based photovoltaics, to ensure that a greater share of the country’s electricity needs is met through solar power.