Friday 20 July 2018

Coyle gets go-ahead for Tayto solar farm

Ray Coyle in front of the Cu Chulainn roller coaster which is one of the biggest attractions in Tayto Park. Photo: Frank McGrath
Ray Coyle in front of the Cu Chulainn roller coaster which is one of the biggest attractions in Tayto Park. Photo: Frank McGrath

Fearghal O'Connor

Tayto Park boss Ray Coyle has got the green light for a €23m solar farm next to his Co Meath amusement park.

It is expected that a third of the electricity produced by the solar panels will be used to power the park, as well as the adjacent crisp factory, while the rest will be supplied to the national grid.

The proposed development, which is being carried out in conjunction with local farmer Joe McDermott, will see the construction of a 35 megawatt solar farm, with more than 120,000 photovoltaic panels arranged on steel ground mounted frames.

Coyle owns 100 acres of the site, while McDermott owns a further 40 acres of the overall area earmarked for the project, which is about a kilometre from the nearby Largo Foods Factory and the amusement park.

The decision comes as solar developer JBM was also granted permission by Meath County Council for an even bigger solar farm nearby, between Ratoath and Dunboyne. That project will extend across 210 acres and will generate up to 51 megawatts of power.

The Meath solar farms approved by the local authority in recent days are just two of a large number of such developments that have been proposed across the country over the past two years. Planners had faced a conundrum around the proposed renewable energy generating developments because of a lack of any national guidelines on solar farms.

Separately, Tayto Park faced criticism in recent weeks after seeking to prevent the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht releasing details of animal deaths at its zoo, arguing that the information was being taken out of context and did not take account of the natural lifespan of the animals.

Coyle stepped down as chairman and director of Largo Foods last year after it was taken over by German food group Intersnack but remains in charge of the amusement park.

Sunday Indo Business

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