Planning regulation exemptions for the erection of solar panels will be completed and ready by the end of June according to Green Party TD Steven Matthews. The exemptions mean that planning permission will no longer be required for larger installations of solar panels across residential rooftops, farm buildings, schools, community centres and a range of commercial buildings. Discussing the progress, Deputy Matthews said:
“I have worked consistently with Minister Darragh O’Brien and the Taoiseach in relation to reducing the planning requirement to make it easier for people to put solar panels on their roofs, so I am pleased to get a confirmation date for the removal of this unnecessarily constraining planning regulation.
“Solar power, in both individual rooftop and at utility scale has huge potential and a significant role in supplying our energy needs and helping to achieve the targets in our Climate Action Plan. The recent Government launch of the HomeEnergy Upgrade Scheme provides for significant grants to install Solar PV (electricity generation) panels or water heating panels in homes to increase energy efficiency and reduce dependence on fossil fuel electricity generation. The microgeneration support scheme MGSS has also been agreed by Government which creates a Clean Energy Guarantee which allows residents to get paid for excess energy they generate. Payments for excess energy have commenced and the roll out of smart electricity meters to facilitate individuals to ‘feed-back’ into the national grid is accelerating.
“This overall package of grants, feed-back tariffs and ease of planning regulations makes sense in the immediate energy crisis but also for our longer-term objectives for accelerating our renewable energy objectives and reducing fossil fuel dependency. There is a huge potential across every rooftop in Ireland to install solar. This will create thousands of jobs, increase reliability and resilience in our energy supply and lead to a decarbonised future. These measures support key government policies on energy, our transition to Net Zero and will help us to achieve our EU renewable energy targets.
“The draft regulations are undergoing the Strategic Environmental Assessment process and the environmental report and draft regulations will be published for a 4-week public consultation shortly. Following this stage, the regulations will be laid before the Oireachtas and the new regulations should be completed by the end of June.”