New planning regulations which propose to remove the need for planning permission for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on farms need to be rolled out urgently, according to the Micro-Renewable Energy Federation (MREF).
The rooftop solar panel planning exemption proposal, announced by Minister of State for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke on Wednesday, is one of a number of revisions to existing planning permission exemptions under consideration by Government and a public consultation has been launched on the issue.
“The focus now needs to shift to urgent implementation of the new regulations and continuing support for the micro-generation sector so that Ireland can deliver on the enormous potential we have for renewable power generation across the country,” said MREF chair Pat Smith.
Welcoming the proposals, Smith said: “The publication of these new regulations follows four years of campaigning by the micro-generation sector and are an important development in Ireland’s climate action journey.
“If we are serious about embracing renewable energy as a primary energy source, we need to support businesses, homes and farms with practical measures to allow them install solar PV on the roofs of their buildings.”
The MREF chair highlighted that “planning requirements have been a major barrier to much wider adoption of renewable power, and solar energy in particular”.
“These new regulations will help remove this barrier for most installations and need to be enacted without any further delays. These new regulations will also help ensure that Ireland joins with other European states in demonstrating its real commitment to climate action and practical support in the shift to renewable power,” he said.
Draft under review
Smith said that MREF members are meeting this week to consider the draft regulations “in detail”.
“MREF will review and respond to Minister Burke on the new regulations early next week.”