New Bill to Allow Larger Solar Arrays on Agri Buildings Without Planning Permission

The Green Party will be introducing a bill to the Seanad next week that would allow agri and industrial buildings to be able to install larger solar arrays without planning permission.

The Solar Panel Bill will amend “outdated” planning and development regulations to also remove planning restrictions for public buildings, schools and homes.

Green Party senator Pauline O’Reilly will be introducing the bill next week.

Potential for a Lot of Solar

Senator O’Reilly stated, “we have the potential for lots of solar power in Ireland, but very few solar panels generating electricity. The reason for that has nothing really to do with our weather or perceived lack of sun, and everything to do with policy and red tape.”

“At the moment, schools and public buildings need to seek planning permission to install even one solar panel and this can take months of paperwork and formalities. There are also restrictions on the size and number of panels that can be used, and this means they are too small for the needs of the building.”

“This bill amendment will open up opportunities for schools and other buildings to install enough panels to finally power some or all of their electricity needs and to sell any excess electricity that they generate back to the grid.

Details of the Bill

  • Planning permission no longer being required for solar panels on schools and public buildings.
  • Homes being able to install larger arrays of solar panels without planning permission (no longer limited to 12m² or 50% of roof area).
  • Industrial, business and agricultural buildings will be able install larger arrays without planning permission (no longer limited to 50% of roof area).
  • Panels will be able to be installed on the ground up to 4m in height.
  • Some restrictions will apply regarding how close to the apex of a roof, side, etc. for safety reasons and listed buildings will remain protected.

Green Party TD and chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action Brian Leddin said it is critical for Ireland’s future to make access to renewable energy as easy and affordable as possible and to allows these solar arrays for agri buildings.

“This bill will address the solar power needs of homes, businesses, industrial buildings and agricultural buildings,” he said.

“It will remove the red tape and make it easier, cheaper and quicker for buildings to install solar panels to produce free, clean renewable energy”.

Source: Agriland