Solar Developments in Northern Ireland

AB Heritage has impressive expertise gained from supporting the development of Solar Parks across the UK. Our Historic Landscape teams are ready to work on site, delivering cost-effective geophysical surveys and site walkovers to identify the potential of underground archaeology.

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In the Spring of 2016, AB Heritage's Historic Landscape team undertook two geophysical surveys for clients based in Northern Ireland. Each posed separate challenges for our clients and survey team.

An important Solar Farm Development in Northern Ireland ...

The first, located in Antrim is currently thought to be largest Solar Farm in Northern Ireland. The 46 MW solar farm development included around 179,000 static solar panel modules mounted on frames with associated ancillary development including invertor stations, a control building, access tracks and security fencing. The site was also known to be one of archaeological interest with previously recorded assets. It  is a prominent area locally.

Confirming areas of archaeological interest ...

AB Heritage provided a rapid response to undertake a geophysical survey over 80 hectares, which covered the proposed area of the Solar Farm development. This allowed for identification of multiple areas of archaeological features and some areas of possible major significance, including 6 known monuments within the site. Features that had been identified through earlier mapping were confirmed through new investigations. The results of the Geophysical surveys enabled our client to reduce the size of the site and plan installation to avoid heritage features.

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On a close-by second site for a proposed Solar Farm, our team was commissioned to survey fields amounting to 39 hectares. This site was complicated through woodland, high geological disturbance, that is known to mask archaeological deposits, and the presence of power lines that can also interfere with survey results.

Professional judgement and data interpretation for risk assessment

Careful professional interpretation of the data concluded that there was potential for archaeological deposits in areas throughout both sites, which could be further investigated for recovery of archaeology through evaluation.

The geophysical surveys allowed our clients to make judgements about the design and installation locations for solar PV equipment to save time and money and protect the most important historic assets in-situ.

In the case of the second site near Rasharkin, the team were able to use professional judgement to identify areas of possible archaeology that presented features that were distinct from geological disturbance patterning.

If you're considering a Solar Park project in your area, please give us a call on 03333 440 206, for an informal discussion about whether Geophysics could assist in the planning of your scheme.