Fine Gael Senator and party spokesman on Housing, Local Government and Heritage has
welcomed the motions to be taken today in both the Dail and Seanad which will remove
most planning restrictions for the installation of solar panels on homes and businesses right across the country.
Currently, panels larger than 12 square metres on homes and 50 square metres on
businesses require planning permission. However, the new regulations which were passed by the Joint Oireachtas Committee last week and are due to be endorsed by both houses of the Oireachtas today would lift any requirement for planning permission for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in 98% of the country up to a maximum of 300 sq.m. Some restrictions will remain around airports and helipads to prevent any potential glint and glare from the panels interfering with aircraft.
Senator Cummins said “I have been working closely with Fine Gael Minister Peter Burke in
relation to these regulations over the past 12 months and I am delighted to see these much- needed changes being implemented. These regulations will remove a primary obstacle for the roll-out of solar energy development nationwide, enabling individuals, communities, businesses and farms to play their part in creating a future fuelled by renewable energy and acting against climate change. They will further help people and businesses to reduce their energy bills and increase Ireland’s energy security, which is of vital importance given the current international situation”.
He added “Anything that doesn’t require a planning application automatically results in a
saving for the homeowner or business. If one takes the commercial sector, businesses in
98% of the country will be able to fit solar panels as big as they may want on their roofs
without a planning application, up to 300 sq. m. That is a very significant step forward. In
relation to the 2% of areas covered by safeguarding zones, it is not that these areas cannot have solar panels, it just means that they will still require planning but thankfully those areas have been limited to the greatest extent possible”.
Senator Cummins concluded by saying “I have a particular interest in supporting the
agriculture sector to reap the benefit from these changes and that is why Fine Gael Minister Martin Heydon is working to ensure the new TAMs which will open in January has provision to enable farmers to access a grant to cover 60% of the cost of installing Solar Panels up to a maximum of €90,000 on farm buildings. I am making the case that battery storage should be included in the parameters of this scheme to enable farmers to benefit to the greatest extent possible and I hope my suggestions can be taken on board by Minister McConalogue and Minister Heydon.