Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said planning permission should be granted for a 46 MW solar farm on the Dublin Road, south of Antrim town.
The development includes 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.
Mark H Durkan said: “With the potential to generate the equivalent annual energy needs for over 9,500 homes, this scheme is the largest solar farm granted permission to date in Northern Ireland and will make a significant contribution to the wider Government objectives of electricity production from renewable sources.
“I have given careful consideration to the impacts of the proposal on environmental interests. The site contains a number of locally important scheduled monuments so the scale of the development was reduced to minimise impact on these areas. I am therefore satisfied that if the development is carried out sensitively, the impact on these heritage interests will be minimal. I also recognise that the visual appearance of a solar farm of this scale can be significant. In this case I am confident that this site is sufficiently enclosed to minimise its impact on the wider landscape.”
“This proposal therefore meets the aim of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement to realise the benefits of renewable energy without compromising environmental assets.”