Planning permission exemptions for solar panels on homes and other buildings rooftops

November 11, 2022

Jim Mc Eneaney

We are absolutely delighted to welcome the news that all domestic solar and certain non-domestic solar is now planning exempt. This is great news for homeowners and businesses that want to contribute to Ireland’s climate change efforts by adding solar panels to their rooftops allowing them to produce clean, green electricity to power their homes and businesses. Even better again, they can also export excess electricity back into the national grid and receive payment/credit for doing this – furthering the renewable energy generated on their rooftops.

It’s a progressive step from the Irish government and the legislation took effect immediately upon being signed into law by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien.

The government press release focuses on several prominent points;

  • houses, regardless of location, may now install unlimited solar panels on their rooftops without any requirement for planning permission (subject to certain conditions)
  • exemptions also apply to rooftops of industrial buildings, business premises, community and educational buildings, places of worship, health buildings, libraries, certain public utility sites and farms
  • certain restrictions continue to apply, including developments near certain aviation sites, protected structures and Architectural Conservation Areas

The Irish government are introducing this legislation with the objective of bringing Ireland into line with the EU’s Solar Rooftops Initiative by making permitting procedures for installing solar on rooftops shorter and simpler.

With the EU looking towards new renewable energy policies and regulations amid a worsening energy crisis, this latest legislative change on solar panels from the Irish government are welcomed by everyone in the renewable energy space.

In line with the worsening energy crisis, is the need for change against the backdrop of climate change concerns here in Ireland and across the world. As Ireland’s largest installer of solar panels, we’re excited by the overall solar targets in the government’s Climate Action Plan. With a target of 380MW of microgeneration capacity (approximately 1 million solar panels), we would be looking to generate roughly 300GWh of renewable electricity per annum and offset over 1.4m tonnes of CO2eq across the lifetime of these solar installations. Along with the introduction of the Microgeneration scheme, this is a most welcome statement of intent from the Minister and his government.

Additionally, Minister O’Brien said:

“With these new exemptions we are removing barriers and ensuring that individuals, communities, businesses and farms can generate their own electricity, reduce their own bills and play their part in creating a zero-carbon future fuelled by renewable energy. These changes will facilitate the rollout of rooftop solar panels and, coupled with the government-supported SEAI Solar PV grant, will see more people install solar panels across the country. This has the added benefit of increasing Ireland’s energy security, a major challenge given current energy pressures. These regulations implement an important commitment in the Programme for Government and will help Ireland meet the government’s Climate Action Plan targets.”

For our domestic customers and those interested in installing solar panels on their home – the legislation states that “For solar panel installations on houses: there is no limit to the area of solar panels which can be installed on rooftops of homes, anywhere in the country. Solar installations will be able to cover the entire roof of a house. The 12sqm/ 50% roof limit which previously applied to houses has been removed nationwide.”

For more information on the exemptions, you can find it at the following link:
Solar Planning Exemptions

We look forward to solar playing its part in transforming the Irish energy landscape alongside other renewable technologies such as on and offshore wind, hydro and more.

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