Planning changes to help rollout of solar energy in Limerick

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Commercial buildings will be exempt from planning permission for the installation of solar panels.

GOVERNMENT proposals to revise planning exemptions will help accelerate the rollout of rooftop solar energy across Limerick city and county.

That’s according to Minister of State for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke who said the changes mean that planning permission will no longer be required for the  installation of solar panels on farm buildings, schools, community centres, residential rooftops and a range of commercial buildings.

He added that, regardless of their location, Limerick homeowners will soon be able to install solar panels on their roofs without any requirement for planning permission.

“These draft regulations 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.

“They will help people and businesses in Limerick 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.

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“Draft proposals for community, educational and religious buildings will also give institutions in Limerick such as schools a greater opportunity to reduce their energy bills.

“By proposing these increased exemptions, we are bringing exemptions into line with our renewables ambitions and helping people in Limerick to play their part in climate action and to reduce their energy bills,”Minster Burke added.

The proposals were also welcomed by Limerick Green Party TD Brian Leddin who said that the draft regulations meant that rooftop solar panels covering the entire roof of farm buildings would not require planning permission.

“Easing planning regulations makes sense in the context of the immediate energy crisis, but also for our longer-term objectives for accelerating our renewable energy objectives and reducing fossil fuel dependency,” he explained.

The proposed expansion of the regulations sees the addition of two new classes of development relating to apartments and educational, community and religious buildings. Exemptions are also proposed for free-standing solar panel installations for houses.

A public consultation has been launched and legislation is expected to pass in the Autumn.