Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 26 July 2017

'Think long and hard before signing solar contracts'

Construction on the solar plant is set to start this month on an 800-hectare plot, about half of which will be covered with solar panels. Photo: Stock Image
Construction on the solar plant is set to start this month on an 800-hectare plot, about half of which will be covered with solar panels. Photo: Stock Image
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Landowners approached by solar development companies have been advised to think long and hard before advancing negotiations or signing further contracts.

That advice is coming from IFA Renewables Project Team Chairman James Murphy who has said the recent statement by Energy Minister Denis Naughten that his Department is unlikely to provide any significant support for solar energy in the short term, raises significant concerns for the many farmers who have committed over 20,000 acres of land to solar energy contracts.

Murphy added that of even “greater concern is the fact that landowners continue to be approached to sign contracts, with Government now indicating that it may be the middle of 2017 before there is any clarity on the level of tariff or the number of megawatts that will be supported by this tariff.”

The Renewables Chairman expressed disappointment at the failure of Minister Naughten to set out any plan regarding the role of communities in future renewable projects.

He added, “It is absolutely essential that communities are adequately consulted and offered an opportunity to become stakeholders in the development of renewable projects in their localities. Government has a key role to play, whether through the tariff support mechanisms or planning policy”, he added. 

James Murphy concluded by re-emphasising the need for farmers to get good independent legal advice before signing any contract.


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