A 316ac solar farm development is seeking planning permission in Co Carlow.
The site, which incorporates some of the land used for the National Ploughing Championships in 2019, stretches across a number of farms at Ballintrane, Ballybrommell, Bendinstown, Clonmacshane, Garreenleen, Graiguealug, Tinnaclash and Templepeter, Co Carlow.
The proposed farm, which will use solar panels on ground-mounted frames, will also require access tracks, including nine “agricultural bridges”, one of which will be over the River Burrin.
If granted planning permission, the solar farm will be one of the largest constructed in Ireland to date.
The planning applicant, Garreenleen Solar Farm Ltd, proposes that the solar farm will have an operational lifespan of 35 years.
Having previously made a planning application requiring amendments, a further submission with some edits was made on Friday, with a decision now required from Carlow County Council by 14 July 2022.
A number of local farmers and stakeholders have met in recent weeks in relation to their concerns around the large solar development, with a date of 23 June 2022 now prescribed for appeals to be made to the local authority.
Garreenleen Solar Farm Ltd is seeking a 10-year planning permission for the 316ac solar farm and its associated works, equating to one third of the farm’s proposed operational lifespan.
It is understood it will will be required to seek subsequent planning permission at that juncture.
The planned solar farm, which will connect to the national electricity grid, will also hold 18 single-storey electrical inverter or transformer stations, equipment containers and underground cabling within the site and within the N80 and L-3046 public roads, to connect solar farm “field parcels”.
There will also be security fencing, a satellite communications pole, CCTV, temporary construction compounds, landscaping and all associated ancillary development works.
In its planning application, Garreenleen Solar Farm Ltd said there will be minor amendments to a neighbouring solar farm planning permission to facilitate future grid connection and additional access tracks for the proposed development.
These amendments will comprise of the removal of 1,837sqm of solar panels, provision of additional access tracks and the “focused removal of hedgerows” to accommodate same.
The construction and operational access for the solar farm will be via road entrances from the L-7111, L-3046 and L-3049.
A natura impact statement has been prepared and while not yet publicly available, Garreenleen Solar Farm Ltd said it will be submitted to the planning authority with the application.