New planning rules will remove solar panel limits on Limerick houses

New planning rules have removed limits on the installation of solar panels.

OWNERS of houses, regardless of location in Limerick, may now install unlimited solar panels on their rooftops without any requirement for planning permission, following the adoption of new planning exemptions by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.

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 exemptions, which take immediate effect, are aimed at increasing Ireland’s generation of solar energy and combating climate change.

Commenting on the regulations, Minister O’Brien said they would allow individuals, communities, businesses and farms in Limerick to generate their own electricity, reduce their own bills and play their part in creating a zero-carbon future fuelled by renewable energy.

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“These changes will facilitate the rollout of rooftop solar panels across Limerick 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,” the Minister added.

The revised regulations mean 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.

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 increased to 75 square metres.  In addition, wall mounted solar installations of 75 square metres are exempted for industrial and agricultural buildings.