Council considers plans for Galway’s first solar panel farm

Plans for a state-of-the-art solar panel ‘farm’ in Ballinasloe to feed power to the national electricity grid – which would be around half the size of Croke Park – have been lodged with Galway County Council. It is believed to be the first proposal of its kind in Galway.

ENGIE, a major stakeholder in the global energy industry, has sought permission for ten years for a solar PV farm (photovoltaic) which will comprise more than 31,000 square metres of solar panels on mounted frames; two electrical control buildings and associated cabins; boundary security fence and CCTV on the 29-acre agricultural site off Ashford Bridge running alongside the railway line at Rooaun near Creagh.

It would involve a total of 19,608 solar panels at a height of 2.5 metres and could generate enough electricity to power 918 homes each year.

While the applicants have sought a ten-year permission (the development must be built within ten years of a grant), the application states that the design life of the project is anticipated to be 30 years, after which all infrastructure will be removed and the ground restored.

According to the applicants, the farm could help reduce dependency on imported energy – in 2014, Ireland imported 85% of its energy, at a cost of €5.7 billion.

“We have been conducting environmental and technical studies over recent months at the site to ascertain the viability of a solar development on this land. As such, we now believe that this land is viable to host a solar farm.

“The development will comprise state-of-the-art solar panels on ground-mounted steel frames, and associated electrical infrastructure. In addition, a temporary site compound area will be constructed during the planned four-month construction period.

“If developed, the project would contribute to increased security of Ireland’s energy supply and reduce dependency on energy imports from other countries,” the application reads.

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