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01 Jul 2022

Planning permission exemptions for rooftop solar panels on homes in Kilkenny proposed

Planning permission exemptions for rooftop solar panels on homes in Kilkenny proposed

The Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, has today published proposed revisions to the existing planning exemptions for the installation of solar panels on the roofs of houses and certain non-domestic buildings in Kilkenny and elsewhere in the country.  

A public consultation as part of the 'Strategic Environmental Assessment' process is now open and will run until 13 July.

The proposed changes are aimed at increasing Ireland’s generation of solar energy and national action on climate change. 

Minister Burke stated that these draft regulations will help facilitate the rollout of rooftop solar energy across Kilkenny.

"They will enable individuals, communities, businesses and farms in the county to play their part in creating a future fuelled by renewable energy and acting against climate change," he said.

"They will help people and businesses in Kilkenny to reduce their energy bills and increase Ireland’s energy security, a major challenge given developments in Europe and the need to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels."

Under the draft regulations the following is proposed:

For solar panel installations on houses, it is proposed to increase the existing planning exemptions for installing solar panels on rooftops of homes, regardless of their geographical location.

Solar installations will be able to cover the entire roof of a house, subject to minor setback distances from the edge of the roof. 

For solar panel installations on rooftops of all other existing classes of development (Industrial; Light Industrial and Business Premises; Agricultural), rooftop solar installations covering the entire roof are proposed to be exempt from requiring planning permission.

However, in 43 proposed solar safeguarding zones, the existing exemption of 50 square metres or less is proposed to be increased to 60 square metres per building.

These proposed solar safeguarding zones, which constitute less than 3% of the country’s land area, are necessary to address aviation safety concerns due to the potential impact of glint and glare arising from increased solar developments in proximity to sites such as airports and hospitals (which have helipads).

Anyone seeking to avail of larger rooftop solar installations within solar safeguarding zones can apply for planning permission.

For apartments, educational/community/religious/health/recreational buildings and libraries, it is proposed to exempt the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of such buildings from requiring planning permission, subject to conditions and the rooftop area limit in proposed solar safeguarding zones.  

Exemptions for wall-mounted and free-standing solar panel installations: free-standing solar panel installations for houses are exempted from the requirement to obtain planning permission subject to a 25 square metre area limit and conditions requiring a certain amount of private open space to be maintained for the use of occupants.

The exempted area for all other categories except apartments is proposed to be increased to 60 square metres.  

In addition, wall mounted solar installations of 60 square metres will also be exempted for industrial and agricultural buildings.

"Draft proposals for community/educational/religious buildings will also give institutions in Kilkenny such as schools a greater opportunity to reduce their energy bills," Minister Burke added.

The draft regulations, which have been published as part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment process can be found here.

Submissions can be submitted by email to 'SolarSEA@housing.gov.ie' or by post to Solar SEA Submissions, Planning Policy and Legislation Section, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Custom House, Dublin 1, D01 W6X0.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on July 13, 2022.

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