Rural Ireland households want more solar and wind farms, according to new research from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

In a 2022 survey of over 1,700 households, which focused on residents living in close proximity to 50 new commercial wind and solar farms, 78% of respondents said Ireland should increase the number of solar PV farms and 59% said Ireland does not have enough wind farms.

Solar PV, in particular, remains a contentious topic among some farmers. Some argue that solar farms take good farmland out of the land rent/leasing pool, while others argue that it presents a good opportunity for additional income.

Typical land leases from solar farm developers range from €1,000 to €1,200 per acre over a 25-year period. By 2030, there will be 24,000ac to 26,000ac of solar farms in Ireland, equivalent to 0.2% of Ireland’s total agricultural land area.