IFA turns up the heat in solar energy market
The IFA is in advanced discussions with private renewable energy companies to set up a solar power venture.
Tim O'Leary, vice-president of the farming body, said they hoped to have the joint venture underway by the end of the year.
He said they want to follow a different approach to the commercial approach taken with wind energy.
"Rural communities got little out of that bar the land rental," Mr O'Leary said.
"We'll be paying a leading price to farmers to rent site for solar power and we'll be giving local communities a chance to buy in, which will get them an annual community payment," he said, adding the monies could be used to maintain pitches or hire extra assistants in a school.
Mr O'Leary said they hoped to offer a minimum of 30pc of the venture to the local community.
The drive towards solar energy comes as Ireland is aiming to produce 16pc of its energy from renewables by 2020, with each percentage point that the country misses the EU targets by costing €150m in carbon credits.
Mr O'Leary said they have been urging farmers to make sure that they look at any renewable power lease extremely carefully and seek legal advice.