BayWa r.e. Ireland Ltd. is exploring the opportunity to build a solar farm on approximately 50 hectares of land 1 km south of Johnswell village, Co. Kilkenny. The proposed development will include a 38kV substation and an underground cable connection to the Kilkenny 110kV substation.
We are seeking consent for a period of 40 years and the solar farm would be fully decommissioned at the end of this period, returning the land to its original agricultural state.
At BayWa r.e. Ireland, we understand the importance of community engagement at every stage of a project’s development process. We have created this page to share information about the proposal, provide details on upcoming public information events, and to gather community feedback. The Kilderry Solar Farm development information page will be available and updated throughout the application process.
The planning application was submitted in August 2023. The planning application documents are available to view and download from the Kilkenny County Council planning website.
If the project is granted consent, the construction phase would start in 2026 and take around 12 months to complete.
Indicative view from Johnswell Road north east of site at John’s Well
Benefits arising from the construction and operation of the proposed Kilderry Solar Farm include:
- Clean renewable energy for up to 10,000 homes, supporting the Irish government’s 2030 targets of 80% of renewable electricity*;
- Opportunities for direct ecological benefits and biodiversity net gain through: Hedgerow planting and improved management, improving grasslands and introducing wildflowers, as well as improved soil conditions.
- Socio-economics: Local contracting opportunities for fencing, civil works, testing, and commissioning during construction. Operation and Management opportunities when the project is operational. Business rate payments will be made from the project to the local economy.
- Annual community benefit contribution: A guaranteed contribution will be paid by the project to the local community in line with the RESS community payment scheme.
Key Design Considerations
- Glint and Glare
We have undertaken ecological surveys on the site to identify the important habitats and wildlife to be considered in the development process.
The proposed project will provide many opportunities for local ecological and biodiversity improvements particularly on land that has previously been intensively farmed. Potential biodiversity enhancements include reinforcement of existing hedgerows and planting new hedgerows, native grassland and wildflowers within and around the solar farm itself.
With these biodiversity enhancements we are planning to provide a rich ecological environment attracting and supporting local birds, mammals, and insects.
Landscape and Visual Impact
We have considered the visual impact of the proposed solar farm from both public and private viewpoints. In order to minimise this impact, we will plant trees and hedgerow to provide natural screening.
Traffic and Transport
A full Traffic and Transport Assessment has been prepared and included in the planning application. The assessment considers the environment, traffic generation and impact, along with likely impacts and associated mitigation measures.
Noise and Vibration
A noise and vibration assessment has been conducted in line with industry best practice.
As part of the Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA), which must be submitted alongside the planning application, BayWa r.e. must document the current state of the environment on and in the vicinity of the site and quantify the likely significant effects of the proposed development on the environment and the site’s biodiversity. The overall objective is to design a scheme that has the least impact on people living locally and the environment, while optimising the renewable energy generation of the site.
Surveys and impact assessment
Planned construction start
Frequently Asked Questions
- How does a solar farm work?
Solar energy farms are ground mounted installations that range in size from 50 kilowatts to thousands of kilowatts. The solar panels are mounted onto a framing system which is installed on the ground. The solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) technology to convert daylight into electricity.
- Is a solar farm noisy?
There is some noise generated on site during the construction stage, but this is only for a short duration. There is no noise produced by the solar panels once operational. Due to the separation and positioning of the substation away from local dwellings, there will be no impact from the low-level noise emissions associated with the substation.
- Do solar panels work when it is cloudy?
Solar panels produce energy from daylight rather than sunlight, so they continue to produce electricity even when the weather is overcast.
- I've heard there can be glare from the solar panels?
There can be some glint and glare from the panels, but we design and locate them to reduce this to a negligible amount, taking the location of properties and the local landscape into consideration. A glint and glare report will be produced as part of the planning submission for the solar farm.
- Will the solar panels be visible from my house?
At a maximum of 3 m high, the PV panels are relatively low-lying in relation to features in the landscape. Although the panels will be occasionally visible as you move through the local area, the proposed development will be screened from most residential areas by topography and/or intervening vegetation. Enhancing the hedgerows throughout the site will also improve screening from local roads and villages.
- What is the process of building a solar energy farm?
We start with a site feasibility assessment, which has already identified this site as a suitable place for a solar farm. We then move into a consultation and surveying phase, where we gather information and opinions on the proposal. Among other things, we assess the environmental, visual and ecological impact of the site and consult with the local community, the council, and relevant public authorities. This information finalises the design and associated reports that are submitted with a planning application. The Local Authority will then follow their processes to determine the application, which concludes with permission either being granted or declined.
If permission is granted, there is then a period of time, between from six to twenty-four months, where the construction contracts are finalised before work on the site is ready to start.
- Is agricultural land taken out of use for the solar farm?
Yes, for the term of the lease but any land classed as agricultural that hosts a solar energy farm maintains its classification throughout the course of the lease. As the solar panel foundations only cover a small surface of the land, it can still be used for some agricultural purposes, such as grazing. After the lease, BayWa r.e. will decommission the solar farm and return the land to the farmer in its original condition. Usually, this means that the land will have better soil quality than before, as it has not been impacted by intensive farming practices or treated with pesticides or fertilisers for several decades.
*Calculated using the most recent estimate from SEAI that 1MW solar capacity can provide enough electricity to supply approximately around 173 homes.