A €6.5m solar farm, part of an independent power company’s plans for 11 such projects in Co Cork, has been refused planning permission.

Amarenco, which was founded by former Bord Gais boss John Mullins, received the setback after Cork County Council officials expressed concern over site entrance and road safety, during the construction process.

The massive solar farm of 22,000 panels was earmarked for an 8.57 hectare site at Ballinvarrig East, Castlelyons, near Fermoy.

It is the first planning refusal the company has encountered so far, having secured permission for solar farms at Inniscarra and Kilmoney, near Carrigaline.

It was also granted planning permission for a similar project in Co Waterford.

Mr Mullins said rather than lodge an appeal directly to An Bord Pleanála, the company was looking at introducing mitigation measures which would resolve the issue.

As soon as such matters were finalised, Amarenco would lodge a revised plan for the Castlelyons site with the local authority, he said.

Mr Mullins said Amarenco was also seeking planning permission for solar farms in Crookstown, Kanturk, Timoleague, Cloyne, Mallow, Rathcormac, Cobh, and Whitechurch.

Each of the solar windfarms would generate five megawatts of electricity, the equivalent of powering 1,000 homes.

All the solar farms are earmarked for agricultural land.

Mr Mullins said despite panels being in the ground, the system allows 90% of normal grass growth.

The company is also looking at developing other solar farms in Kerry, Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, and Kilkenny, with plans to have all areas operational by 2019.

Amarenco currently operates five huge solar farms in France, some since 2011.


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