Ireland is in the midst of major investment into solar energy, an important source of renewable power. Rubicon have developed specific expertise in managing the archaeological elements of solar array developments for our clients, and have carried out work on a significant number of these planned sites. Rubicon Heritage Director Trish Long provides an outline of what that entails:
Over the past year Rubicon have provided expert planning advice in relation to planning applications for over 50 proposed solar arrays in 13 counties across Ireland. Our clients have included planning consultants as well as both large and small renewable energy companies. In many cases we are working as part of multi-disciplinary teams, to help ensure that the many strands involved with planning applications are well integrated.
Our involvement is wide-ranging; it encompasses pre-planning site selection and design advice, the preparation and compilation of detailed archaeological impact assessment reports, handling requests for further information and planning conditions, and when required geophysical survey, test trenching and archaeological monitoring. Through careful assessment and sensitive design, as well as liaison with local authority archaeologists and the National Monuments Service, we have helped our clients secure planning permission for many of these sites already, while other applications are well advanced in the system.
The solar industry is relatively new in Ireland and the approach by planners to archaeological issues has been evolving over the past year. At Rubicon we have drawn on our prior experience of solar sites in the UK, together with our wide-ranging knowledge of archaeology and the planning process in Ireland to help clients negotiate these procedures and secure the best chance of obtaining permission for their development.
As proposals for solar arrays continue to be lodged throughout the country, we look forward to continuing to provide a one-stop-shop for clients who need expert assistance in dealing with archaeology from the planning to the construction stages.