While more and more people in Ireland are interested in getting solar panels installed on their property, one question that many will be asking themselves is: Am I going to need planning permission for this?

Planning permission can be a significant hassle, potentially expensive and certainly time consuming.

Depending on what type and size of solar PV installation you’re having installed it might need expert reports, which is an additional expense. Going through the planning process with the local council, will also likely add several months to the process.

The good news for those worried about this is that, for the majority of people the answer to that question is going to be a simple ‘No’.

Among a wide array of measures meant to encourage the adoption of home solar, the government changed the rules surrounding planning permission for solar panels in late 2022.

PV solar panels

The effect of these changes was to make the majority of rooftop solar PV installations, which are the most common type of microgeneration, exempt from planning permission.

The Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 3) Regulations 2022 and the supporting Planning and Development (Solar Safeguarding Zone) Regulations 2022 came into effect last October.

Under these updated rules houses, no matter where they are located, can install unlimited amounts of rooftop solar panels without needing planning permission.

This is a big improvement from previous rules which limited the exemption on houses to solar PV systems which covered a maximum of 12m² or 50 percent of the roof.

On top of this, apartment buildings, businesses, industrial premises, farms, community facilities, sports grounds, and more are 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.

planning permission for solar panels

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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 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 of 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

8 Years

A typical solar installation is fully paid back within 8 years. All our panels are under warranty for 25 years, so you will enjoy 17 years of free energy generation.

0% VAT

As of May 10th 2023, the government has removed all VAT on Solar installation and solar panel supply. Solar has never been more affordable. 

Government Grants

There is are a number of government grants available for all new solar installations. Our team will guide you through the application process. 

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 declining costs, 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!

consider getting solar panels installed on your home or business

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