Planning sought for solar farm near Roscommon town

Gaelectric Renewable Energy Developments has recently sought planning permission for a solar farm to be developed near Roscommon town. The company lists wind turbines at Skrine and Ballaghaderreen in Co. Roscommon as part of its current operational projects.

  The wind farm at Skrine made headlines in 2013 due to noise complaints from locals who lived near the turbines. According to Roscommon County Council at the time, Gaelectric had provided evidence that showed the noise levels were within generally accepted limits. Speaking about the proposed solar farm, which would be located at Creevyquinn, Gaelectric Development Manager, Michael Donnelly, told the Roscommon People: “It’s a 5 megawatt project. This is the equivalent of 900 homes powered by renewable energy.”

  As for local employment, Mr Donnelly added that, where possible, Gaelectric sought to employ local people and that most of the employment would be at the construction phase. He also added that solar farms with adequate coverage are unobtrusive but that noise surveys had been carried out as part of the planning process.

  Mr Donnelly added: “We’re confident that we did our utmost to address every aspect of the planning application.” He also confirmed that the company had carried out consultations locally and that the response to the solar farm was mostly positive.

  Gaelectric is asking Roscommon County Council to allow it to build the solar farm development on a 34-acre site at Creevyquinn. The proposed area for the site is situated just outside Roscommon town between the N61 and Lanesboro Road.

  The development would include a single-storey electrical substation building, electrical inverter and transformer stations as well as solar PV panels mounted on metal frames. New tracks would also need to be developed to access the solar farm.

  Last year, the Irish Solar Energy Association estimated that it cost approximately €6.8 million to develop a 5MW solar farm, or just under €1.4 million per MW. That price was expected to drop below €1.2 million per MW by 2017.

  The County Council is due to decide whether to give the proposal the go-ahead by March 22nd.