Irish developer Gaelectric has secured planning permission for a 4.9MW solar farm in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, next to its under construction Inishative wind farm. The company has announced that the solar project will comprise ground mounted photovoltaic panels. The company is seeking approval to modify its existing grid connection agreement with Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) to facilitate co-locating the solar project next to the wind farm, which is scheduled to come online later this year. “It is important that the NIE/SONI consultation on grid connections for renewable energy allows the modification of existing and paid for connection agreements, and avoids delays in co-locating solar projects that do not require any increase in the maximum export capacity of existing connections,” said Gaelectric development director Mike Denny. The alternative connection application and offer process proposal from NIE/SONI proposes that applications to over-install generation at the maximum export capacity of an existing grid connection would be included in a ‘batching’ process. Under this proposal, all applications in the ‘batch’ are assessed and awarded connections together. Gaelectric is seeking a derogation from ‘batching’ for co-locating solar projects with wind where the maximum export capacity of the existing grid connection is not being exceeded. It also plans to set up a €200,000 community fund for the Inishative solar farm.