Cratloe Community Solar
Garrynacurra Solar Farm
Earlier this year a renewable energy developer, Highfield Solar, offered the local community the option to take over it's planned solar farm development at Garrynacurra. The project had planning permission for approximately 25 acres of solar panels with a planned output of 5MW.
This is a substantial project with the potential to supply around 1500 homes and generate substantial income far into the future.
Since then a small group of people have taken on this project on behalf of the community. They have applied for a grid connection and are one of only seven projects in the country that are one hundred percent community owned and are in line for a connection to the national grid.
The next stage of this project is to enter a bid in the next RESS auction. This is where all potential energy producers put forward a bid price to supply renewable electricity to the grid for a contract period of 15 years or more. This auction will take place in May 2022. In the meantime there is lots of work to be done to finalise the design and overall costs.
Substantial funding will be required to complete the build and get the farm operational. Initial work has been done on possible funding models but lots remain to be done.
The group is also working on legal governance structures to ensure the project is protected for the benefit of the community into the future.
Community ownership of energy production is new in Ireland and there is a lot to be worked out. There is substantial good will from all levels of government to see communities successful in owning their own energy production.
This project needs people with expertise and vision to help it be successful. We need finance and accounting skills, engineering, IT and marketing skills, but the most important skill of all is a desire to bring about change and to do something with a lasting impact. Please reflect on how you can assist and join the group and be part of major action on climate change and major support for the local community