Renewable energy developer and consultancy Dulas is collaborating with consultancy Cunnane Stratton Reynolds (CSR) to launch a complete solar ground mount service for the Irish solar market.
The collaboration will see the two firms offer design, environment and planning expertise for solar schemes in the Republic of Ireland. It will stream-line the development phase of new solar schemes, drawing on both Dulas’ extensive expertise in solar PV design and installation, and that of CSR in local planning and environmental assessment.
The Irish Government has set one of the most ambitious renewable energy targets in Europe and is aiming to source 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland is widely considered to be one of the most promising European markets for ground mounted solar, with Dulas’ Irish Brownfield Report estimating the potential for brownfield site development alone at up to 3 GW. However, issues such as a delay on the announcement of a new solar subsidy system, and the lack of planning guidance on ground mount solar, have created barriers in terms of project development.
The commercial relationship between the two companies will dramatically mitigate some of the uncertainty within the market, as well as the additional complexity caused by the stringent planning requirements of some regulators. Dulas has been instrumental in the delivery of 17 sites totalling 147MW of ground mount solar in Ireland to date. This experience will likely prove invaluable in developing projects that are as near to shovel-ready as possible, while remaining sufficiently flexible to allow for EPC requirements.
Equally, CSR’s experience in effective planning management and compliance with land-use requirements will provide greater certainty when it comes to securing planning permissions. The collaborative nature of Dulas’ and CSR’s service offering, will also allow clients to contract through one service supplier, reducing management time and project costs. As a member of the Irish Solar Energy Association and a planning consultancy long established in the Irish renewable energy industry, CSR’s expertise will complement Dulas’ design and installation experience to expedite each stage of the planning process.
“It’s clear that, despite its great potential, the Irish market has suffered from a lack of clear direction in terms of how solar ground mount projects can best negotiate the the design and planning stages” said Michael Phillips, Principal Consultant at Dulas. “We’re delighted to be pooling our expertise with that of CSR as, together, we’re able to offer our clients a comprehensive design, environment and planning service package - underpinned by our established track record of successfully guiding projects through the planning process in both Ireland and the UK.”
Richard Butler, Planner and Landscape Architect at CSR, added that there is a real market for a more holistic approach when it comes to the design of solar ground mount projects in Ireland.
In particular, the collaboration will deliver preliminary design and yield analyses, environmental surveys and assessments, and a series of pre-application local authority and public consultations. Dulas and CSR’s clients can also expect to benefit from detailed planning statements, environmental reports, and management of all aspects of the planning application through to determination.