IFA warns over contracts for ‘untested’ solar farms

Despite one of the worst summers on record, the sun could be the new cash-cow for farmers in rural parts of the country.

But Clare’s IFA chair- person Willie Hanrahan has cautioned farmers about signing longs-term leases for solar farms. He believes they could simply blow away during the first storm of winter.

His concern came as Reeve Wave Limited lodged plans for the construction of a 43,500sq m solar farm at Knockanulty, Ennistymon.

Another large-scale solar farm at Cratloe in East Clare was announced in May, but the €30m project by Terra Solar Ltd has been opposed by some locals.

The proposed energy farm in Ennistymon envisages solar panels attached to ground by mounted steel frames.

With North Clare subject to a number of devastating storms in recent years, fears have already been expressed over the long-term sustainability of solar farms locally.

“Farmers need to be very very careful before they sign contracts, these things haven’t been tried and tested in the West of Ireland at all yet,” Mr Hanrahan said.

“Everyone is well aware of the [weather] conditions that can happen in places like Ennistymon. These things could very well just blow away. There are options there for farmers but they need to be very careful before they sign any agreements.

“Green energy is always welcome and there are lots of different ways of doing it, but it really depends on where they are put. It looks like this could be very profitable for the farmer but there has to be rules around it.”


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