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Installation Of Thurles Solar Farm Possible By 2016

Furze_jpegLast month Tipperary County Council won a national award for its work in relation to its energy management performance and on its uptake of renewable energy solutions. Photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed by Tipperary County Council on fire stations, libraries, civic offices and at the Nenagh leisure centre, in a project which increased Ireland’s total PV capacity by some 44%.

New data shows that 800 panels installed in nine buildings owned by the Tipperary Council at a cost of €330,000 are presently generating 10% more power than projected, and will pay for themselves in just over six years.

Will Tipperary now be a catalyst for change; leading other areas of Ireland in generating further green energy in a clean sustainable way?

This week we learn that Lightsource Ireland, a renewable energy company are currently examining a proposal for the installation of a Solar Farm on lands situated at ‘The Furze’, situated east of Thurles Town, in County Tipperary.

Lightsource Renewable Energy is currently Europe’s leading solar energy company and operates a variety of solar farms and rooftop installations; while working closely with local communities, businesses and landowners, to generate green energy in a clean sustainable way.

You can view further details regarding this overall proposal by clicking HERE or click on image top left to magnify the image shown.

The proposed area, well known locally as ‘The Furze’ consists of a cluster of small connected fields, totalling some 27 acres. Same pastures are currently being used as grassland for silage and grazing. This proposed infrastructure, should it be agreed worthy of installation, will only reach a maximum height of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft).  Existing established hedgerows therefore will be completely effective in screening any future solar farm installation from the view of public sight. Any present gaps in the existing hedgerows will be in-filled using native planting.

Agricultural fencing of about 2 metres in height is being proposed to surround any future site perimeter; same appropriate to the present rural setting and this fence will sit inside the surrounding hedgerows. Importantly, ‘Mammal Gates’ in this fencing, strategically placed, would allow for small mammals to move freely across the site, undisturbed.

Solar farms, unlike Wind Turbines and highly pollutant conventional Power Plants, are passive installations which do not produce any harmful by-products, such as noise, glare, seepage of harmful substances or the emission of high levels of electromagnetic radiation, which effect radio transmissions.

The land within this proposed solar farm area can continue to be grazed by sheep, thus keeping pastures in continual agricultural production. The wide field margins and associated areas of open grassland can be also managed to create, enhance and give sanctuary to local existing wildlife.

While these plans are still in the very early stages of discussion, Lightsource are keen to gather local input before they submit any formal planning application.

Thurles residents and those living within the towns environs, who would like to see how they can get involved in this project, are requested to get in touch with the Lightsource team directly or by attending at Thurles Rugby Club, Moyne Road, Thurles, County Tipperary on December 8th 2015 between 5:30-8pm, to meet, in person, Lightsource personnel for further debate and information.

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