Ireland: 10 MW PV project rejected by council

Fingal County Council rejected an application for a 10 MW solar power plant, on the grounds that it would go against its objective of preserving the rural landscape.

Gaelectric lodged the application with the council on 16th June, requesting a ten-year planning permission for “the development of a solar PV energy development to include a single story 38kv substation building and electrical equipment compound, electrical inverter and transformer stations, electrical string inverters and marshalling cabinets, solar PV panels mounted on metal frames, new access tracks, underground cabling and perimeter fencing with infrared CCTV and access gates.”

The project is the latest in a line of PV projects to be rejected in Ireland. Last week, Irish Independent reported that another proposed solar farm in County Kildare was also rejected. The council blames the lack of a coherent national strategy for solar development in the country: “There is a lack of guidance at national, regional and local level in relation to the appropriate location, scale and distribution of future proposals for solar power,” noted the authority in a statement to the Irish Independent.

Rejecting this application from Gaelectric, the council continued “Due to its scale, and notwithstanding the mitigation measures proposed, the proposal would alter significantly the prevailing land use in the area, which is agriculture, and would represent an incongruous and dominant feature on the rural landscape.”

Ireland has seen increased interest in large-scale PV so far this year, grid operator EirGrid told pv magazine in May that it had received applications for upwards of 1.4 GW of new, MW scale PV plants.