1. What is a solar farm?
A solar farm is a large array of solar panels, installed in fields or other large spaces, feeding all of the generated power to the electricity grid. Sometimes these are referred to as a solar park or a ground mounted solar array. In a solar farm the solar panels are installed on mounting systems approximately 3m high which are piled into the ground like fence-posts. Rows of these mounting systems would be a typical feature of a solar farm.
2. How much land is required for a solar farm?
Solar farms can be any range of sizes, but around 4-5 acres (1.6-2 hectares) is required for each Megawatt (MW) of solar panels installed (around 4,000 panels per MW).
3. What information is available on planning for large-scale solar farms in Ireland?
There are currently no large-scale solar farms in Ireland but there are a significant number in the UK. Information on planning requirements and the appropriate siting of solar farms in the UK can be found here. There are currently no central planning guidelines for large-scale solar farms in Ireland. However a research report on planning and development for solar farms in Ireland contains some useful information and can be accessed here.
4. What information is available for land-owners regarding solar farms?
Presentations from an IFA event ‘Solar – a real opportunity for farmers?’ hosted in July 2016. The presentations cover technical, legal and tax considerations for landowners. A useful article for landowners on solar farms in the Engineers Journal.