planning permission for solar panels

With more and more people becoming interested in installing solar panels, homeowners may be wondering if they need planning permission for solar PV panels in Ireland.

The good news is that the vast majority of people do not need planning permission to have solar panels installed on their property in Ireland.

Among a range of measures designed to encourage the adoption of home solar, the Irish government changed the law in late 2022 allowing for anyone to install unlimited solar panels without planning permission.

Unlimited Solar Panels without Planning Permission

The majority of rooftop solar PV installations, which are the most common type of microgeneration, are exempt from planning permission in Ireland.

Under updated rules which came into effect in October 2022, homeowners can install unlimited amounts of rooftop solar panels without needing planning permission.

This is a great improvement on the previous rules, which allowed a maximum of 12m² or 50 percent of the roof to have solar panels without planning permission.

On top of this, apartment buildings, businesses, industrial premises, farms, community facilities, sports grounds, and more are now also exempt from needing planning permission for solar panels in most locations.

The only exception to these exemptions are for premises like these located in one of 43 Solar Safeguarding Zones around the country, where planning permission is required for larger scale solar installations.

Solar safeguarding zones

Solar safeguarding zones are areas located around an airport, helipad, or aerodrome where there is a possibility for glint or glare from solar panels to impact on aviation safety.

The good news is that even in these SSZs planning permission is still not required for the majority of solar PV developments.

The only restriction imposed in these SSZs is that rooftop solar PV developments are limited to an area 300m². This is more than enough for the majority of small scale solar PV systems.

In the case of larger industrial buildings with greater power needs, they can still apply for planning permission for solar arrays covering an area larger than 300m².

These limitations are also stand-alone restrictions, applying to each building rather than an entire curtilage. For instance, an industrial or agricultural operation with multiple buildings would be able to install up to 300m² on each building without having to go looking for planning permission if they are in an SSZ.

And again, to emphasise, there is no rooftop limit on houses, regardless of whether the house is located within or outside an SSZ.

A map of all Solar Safeguarding Zones can be found on MyPlan.ie

Free-standing solar panels

While rooftop solar PV is going to be the most attractive option in the majority of cases, sometimes property owners might prefer to install ground-mounted solar panels.

This could be due to the shape of the roof not being suited for solar panels, because it is a protected structure, or any number of reasons.

In those cases, free-standing (ground-mounted) solar panels could be a suitable alternative. For houses, an area covering up to 25m² of such solar panels can be installed without needing planning permission. There is a restriction that at least 25m² of private open space must remain afterwards.

For all other types of buildings except for apartments, an area of up to 75m² of free-standing solar panels can be erected without planning permission.

free standing solar panels

What does this mean for me?

Not having to go through the red tape of the planning process can save you money, and take the uncertainty out of whether to go for solar panels.

There’s also no risk of having your goals squashed by a negative decision from the local council, when you may have already invested your time in researching this, or money in purchasing equipment.

With the cost of solar panels declining, and grant assistance available, it’s an added incentive to go green and have solar panels installed on your home or business.

Take our online assessment to get a free quote for solar home or business solar energy today!

Briain Kelly

RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCHER

Briain Kelly is a Leinster based journalist and content creator who has been writing about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for nearly three years. He researches the latest news in multiple areas related to solar power, electric vehicles, heat pumps, and home energy upgrades. His writing includes both technological developments and government policy.

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