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Calls for Specific Planning and Development Guidance for Solar Energy Development

Calls for Specific Planning and Development Guidance for Solar Energy Development

With the surge of new planning applications for solar panel farms in Ireland, An Bord Pleanala is calling for a strategic plan for their development.

 

This follows the recent refusal of planning for a €25m solar farm in Co. Wexford by An Bord Pleanala. According to the An Bord Pleanála Inspector in this recent determination, “There has been a sudden wave of proposed solar power development within the last two years and both the volume and scale of such development is increasing”.

 

As of late 2016, planning applications for over 100 Utility Scale Solar PV (USSPV) developments have been submitted to planning authorities across the State.

 

At present, no specific planning and development guidance exists for solar energy development in an Irish context. The absence of guidance is an issue for planning authorities, the development sector and local communities, as it introduces uncertainty into the manner in which solar energy schemes will be considered.

 

Future Analytics Consulting Ltd. (FAC) have recently undertaken research on behalf of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to devise evidence based and consultation tested recommendations which may inform the development of Section 28 (Planning and Development Act 2000 [as amended]) guidance for USSPV schemes.

 

The delivery of planning guidance for this sector will contribute toward the unlocking of the potential of the solar energy sector to decarbonise Ireland’s energy sources, especially in light of the State’s obligations under binding international, European and national Green House Gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.

 

This research has identified a range of recommendations, which could contribute to informing any future planning and development guidance for utility scale ground mounted solar PV installations. The recommendations have been categorised under the following headings;

 

– Forward Planning recommendations;
– Development Management Recommendations; and,
– Other Recommendations.

 

FAC’s team of experienced planners can help clients who specialise in the delivery of sustainable energy infrastructure to navigate the rigours of planning applications of this nature.

 

For further information or to find out about our range of services, drop us an e-mail at info@futureanalytics.ie or call us on 01 639 4836