Shannon airport has lodged plans for a 5.5 acre 1.2MW solar farm for the airfield at the airport.

The solar farm application is just one of five applications Shannon Airport Authority DAC has before Clare County Council as the airport prepares for passenger numbers to exceed 2 million in 2024.

The airport operator’s planning applications include plans for an additional 1,051 car spaces to serve the airport and expansion of its 1-5 departure gates at its terminal building in response to the rising passenger numbers.

In a planning report by TOBIN accompanying the solar farm planning application, it states that the solar farm “will benefit Shannon airport by providing a sustainable source of energy, reducing costs, and promoting environmental sustainability”.

Project Planner, Seán Greene with TOBIN Consulting Engineers has told the Council “by generating a sustainable source of energy, the airport can ensure uninterrupted access to electricity and reduce its reliance on traditional fossil fuels”.

The planned solar farm site lies adjacent to the airport’s Taxiway 12 and an engineering report by TOBIN includes an area earmarked for potentially more solar farm development adjacent to the solar farm site which is a multiple in size of the initial 5.5 acre site.

Mr Green has told the Council that the planned solar farm “is a critical step towards achieving Shannon Airport Authority DAC’s sustainability goals”.

He has also told the Council that by leveraging renewable energy sources like solar power, Shannon Airport “can demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship while reaping the benefits of clean energy generation”.

Mr Green states that the proposed solar farm development will “showcase” the airport’s dedication to reducing its impact on the environment.

In 2023, the Shannon Group increased its pre-tax profits by 60 per cent to €31 million as consolidated revenues rose to €67.8 million. The group’s cash funds totalled €77.4 million at the end of last December.

A spokeswoman for the Shannon Group said that the capital expenditure for the projects “will be funded from our own resources”.

Asked on the total capital outlay on the various applications, the Shannon Group spokeswoman declined to say, pointing out that the group is not in a position to advise on cost estimates ahead of completing the public procurement process and the planning process being completed.

On the additional 1,051 car spaces, the spokeswoman said: “The project is being undertaken to reconfigure existing space to deliver both a mix of new car park spaces and the reorientation of existing car park spaces to provide a better passenger experience at Shannon Airport.

On a timeline for the delivery of the projects, the spokeswoman said: “We would hope these projects would be tendered in July/August 2024, with a target completion time of Q2, 2025.”

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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