Planning permission is being sought for a proposed solar farm across 205ha in Co. Meath which could provide electricity to at least 30,000 homes.

GP Joule Ireland Limited has lodged a planning application with Meath County Council for the development which will be spread over three land parcels, the majority of which is currently used for pasture.

The German company, specialising in providing sustainable energy, officially opened its Irish operation in Dunboyne last October.

Solar farm

According to a planning statement prepared on behalf of GP Joule by planning and environmental firm, Entrust Limited, the proposed solar farm will have an export capacity of 190MW.

The proposed solar farm will “provide sufficient carbon free electricity for at least 30,000 average Irish homes and will displace approximately 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per annum”.

“This represents a significant contribution to local renewable electricity targets and will contribute to national electricity targets,” the document states.

GP Joule is seeking ten-year planning permission with an operational period of 40 years for the solar farm, which it said is “imperative for the funding of the proposed development”.

The solar farm would span three sites divided by local roads in the townlands of Mulhussey, Batterstown, Longtown, Mullagh and Milltown.

The sites would be connected to a transformer in the northern most land parcel through around 1.7km of mainly underground cabling.

The proposed development will involve the installation of a series of solar PV arrays on the site, each 625W panel will be around 1.1m in length, almost 2.5m wide and will be mounted on an aluminium framework.

It is expected that there will be around 25 panels per row but this will depend on the configuration used.


As part of the proposed development, GP Joule is seeking to transform the site into a “wildlife sanctuary”.

The planning document states that the “removal of cattle grazing at Blackhall and the cessation of cultivation, fertilisation and spraying of the pastureland where the solar panels are to be installed will be positive, reducing the high inputs of nutrients into the river system from agricultural run-off”.

It adds that the soil within the proposed site area will act as “a carbon sink as opposed to release of carbon in the form of methane from current intensive farm practises”.

The monoculture grassland “will be largely free from human activity over the 40 years lifetime of this solar farm”.

The developer is also planning to preserve and enhance areas of scrub, hedgerows, trees and woodland habitats to provide “suitable nesting, foraging and refuge habitats for birds”.

A decision on the planning application is due to be made by Meath County Council in late February.