Roscommon County Council has granted planning permission for a 78ha (192ac) solar PV farm outside Athlone.
The now approved solar farm on lands at Cuilmore and Cloonrollagh, Athlone, Co Roscommon, will be operational for 35 years following five years of construction.
The development will include a single-storey electrical substation building, inverter substations, modules, solar PV ground-mounted panels on support structures, temporary construction compounds, internal access tracks and security fencing.
Roscommon County Council says that RES will also carry out additional “landscaping and habitat enhancement as required”.
In granting its permission, the local authority prescribed 35 conditions which the development must meet.
It insists that all existing field boundaries, including trees and hedgerows, shall be retained during the solar farm’s development and operation, “notwithstanding any exemptions available”.
An ecological impact assessment of the solar farm carried out by environmental consultancy Neo Environmental Ltd found that RES’s proposed habitat mitigation and plans for enhanced planting will “result in a net beneficial gain for trees and hedgerows” in the area.
The assessment, reviewed by the Irish Farmers Journal, states that there will also be no “significant impacts” for any Natura 2,000 site.
The document also claims that if RES’s biodiversity management plan is followed, there will be a net gain for biodiversity at the site in Co Roscommon.