Solar Power in Ireland
Many countries the world over are continually progressing their renewable energy efforts, and Ireland is no exception. A perennial option for green energy – solar photovoltaics (SPV) – has been slower to take off in Ireland than it has in the UK for example . However, there is the potential for commercial ground-based SPV developments in Ireland, as evidenced by the consented Coolroe project in County Wexford .
We undertook the Glint and Glare Assessment for the Coolroe solar energy development. You can learn more about our involvement with the project via the dedicated case study. You can download it by clicking the link below.
Click to see the Pager Power Glint and Glare Assessment case study for Coolroe Solar Energy Development, Republic of Ireland.
Glint and Glare
Among the many issues that SPV developers have to deal with is the potential for glint and glare effects – which are unwanted reflections of sunlight by the panels. These reflections can cause a nuisance and concerns can be raised over potential safety hazards.
Whilst the amount of light that is reflected by SPV panels is lower than many other everyday surfaces ,  – they are designed to absorb sunlight after all – the issue is not one that a developer should ignore.
In the UK a domestic rooftop solar installation was removed due to glint and glare complaints from a neighbour, and in the USA a large-scale solar development had to be intermittently covered up to prevent glare affecting air traffic controllers at the adjacent airport .
Who is affected?
The most common receptors that need to be identified and assessed are:
- Airports – particularly if they are within 5 km of the development .
- Residential dwellings
- Public roads
- Railway Lines
The above is not an exhaustive list. It is, however, a good starting point for a developer planning an SPV project.
What to do?
The following summarises the best approach for tackling glint and glare issues:
- Identify the issues – determine which specific receptors in the area require consideration.
- Detailed assessment – this should consider the geometry of the panels, the path of the Sun throughout the year at the development’s position and the intervening terrain / vegetation between the panels and the receptors. The dates, times, duration and relevant panels associated with any impacts should be quantified.
- Mitigation and engagement – where impacts have been identified, mitigation options should be developed at the design phase. Engagement with any concerned parties should be initiated to ensure all concerns and solutions are understood.
The two most common approaches to mitigation when it comes to glint and glare are:
- Screening – to prevent reflections from occurring at a receptor location.
- Site design – modifying the layout, tilt and azimuth angle affects the reflections.
These are not the only options, but they are the most common.
Can We Help?
References & Notes
 Technical Guidance for Evaluating Selected Solar Technologies on Airports, Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). (Last accessed 06/08/2015).
 A Study of the Hazardous Glare Potential to Aviators from Utility-Scale Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Systems, Riley and Olson, 2011. (Last accessed 06/08/2015).
 Manchester airport remains in dark over solar-panel glare solution , Mark Hayward. (Last accessed 06/08, 2015)
 In the UK, objections have been raised by airports at distances of over 18 km.