Gaelectric secures approval for solar farm

Mike Denny
Mike Denny

Gaelectric has secured planning approval for a 4.9MW solar farm at Inishative near Pomeroy in County Tyrone.

In a first for Northern Ireland, this solar farm will comprise ground mounted PV (photo-voltaic) panels co-located next to the site of Gaelectric’s Inishative wind farm which is currently under construction and due to commence generation in 2016.

The electricity generation capacity of Inishative Solar Farm will meet the equivalent energy needs of approximately 1,175 homes with clean, green electricity.

“Co-locating wind and solar generation on the same site makes sense,” said Gaelectric development director, Mike Denny.

“Solar and wind have complementary generation profiles. Solar tends to be strongest during the longer and brighter days of late spring, summer and early autumn when the wind tends to blow less. Wind on good sites blows most of the time, but more consistently from late autumn right through to the springtime.”

In this way, he said the profiles of solar and wind generation complemented each other, helping to use limited grid capacity and other essential infrastructure more efficiently, and significantly reducing environmental impacts.

Gaelectric has put in place a community fund for Inishative Solar Farm which will contribute up to £150,000 over the lifetime of the project. In total, it will contribute more than £3m at today’s prices to the local and wider economy in Northern Ireland, throughout its construction and operational phases.