Roof top solar panels no longer require planning

Homeowners in Meath will no longer require planning permission to erect solar panels on their roof under new regulations that have come into effect.

Houses, regardless of location in Meath, 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 Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, has signed into law revised planning exemptions for the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of houses and certain non-domestic buildings. The exemptions are aimed at increasing Ireland’s generation of solar energy and combating climate change. The changes take immediate effect.

These regulations aim to bring Ireland into line with the EU’s Solar Rooftops Initiative by making permitting procedures for installing solar on rooftops shorter and simpler. It supports a target of installing up to 380MW (approximately 1 million solar panels) of microgeneration capacity as part of Ireland’s overall solar targets under the Government’s Climate Action Plan.

Commenting on the regulations, Minister O’Brien said: “With these new exemptions we are removing barriers and ensuring that individuals, communities, businesses and farms in Meath 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 across Meath and, coupled with the Government-supported SEAI Solar PV grant, will see more people install solar panels across the county. 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.”

Under the revised regulations 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.