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Major solar farm project in Tipperary gets go-ahead 

Target of 70pc renewable power by 2030


(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

IRELAND'S drive towards renewable energy accelerated with a massive Tipperary solar farm project receiving the go-ahead.

Tipperary Co Council has granted permission for the development of a huge solar farm outside Roscrea on a 142.7 hectare site.

Ireland's Climate Action Plan has set a target of delivering 70pc of energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.

Monaincha Solar Park Ltd received the planning approval subject to 16 conditions.

The developers said the project will deliver at least 40 years of renewable energy generation.

It will be developed at a site near the M7 and just outside Roscrea town on the Tipperary/Offaly border.

The construction phase granted under the planning permission extends for ten years.

Planning was granted after Tipperary Co Council considered a detailed nature impact statement.

The project involves a series of ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, steel support structures, 34 electrical transformation enclosures, a temporary construction compound, underground cabling, inverters, CCTV poles and cameras, special deer-type security fencing for the entire site boundary as well as landscaping and biodiversity measures to reduce its visual footprint.

The development came just months after Norwegian state-owned energy company, Statkraft, paid more than €10m for the rights to five solar farm projects in Cork, Laois, Meath and Tipperary.

Another company is proposing a major solar farm for Waterford.

Statkraft will begin construction on its Tipperary-based Ballymacadam project in 2021, which when completed will have the largest power output of any solar farm currently being planned for Ireland at 119 megawatts (MW).

Ireland currently has no commercial-scale solar projects operational.

Statkraft said it plans to invest €150m in the sites, previously owned by UK firm Lightsource, which is controlled by BP.

Statkraft is Norway's largest energy producer.

All five sites it acquired have full planning permission to build solar energy farms that, when completed, will generate a combined capacity of 275MW.

The purchase increases Statkraft's rapidly growing profile in renewable energy in Ireland.

Last year, as part of the State's first auction of renewable energy delivery contracts, Statkraft secured support for delivering two wind farms and two solar farms.

One of the five projects acquired from Lightsource - Blundelstown Solar Farm in Meath - was also selected for State support in that auction, placing it on a path for accelerated delivery.

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Statkraft recently completed a €30m wind farm at Kilathmoy on the Kerry-Limerick border with 23MW capability.

The Norwegian firm began investment in Ireland's renewable energy sector in 2018.

In Ireland’s first competitive auction under the government’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1) in 2020, Statkraft secured contracts for over 330MW of renewable power, including two wind projects (57MW) and two solar projects (276MW).

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