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Rules for solar panels to be relaxed

Planning permission exemptions for solar panels on homes and other buildings are proposed.

  • Houses regardless of location, will soon be able to install solar panels on their roofs without any requirement for planning permission.

  • Exemptions proposed for the first time for solar rooftops of homes and buildings like community and educational buildings, places of worship, health buildings, libraries and farms.

  • Exemptions for certain wall-mounted and free-standing solar panel installations proposed to be increased to 60m2.


The Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, has published proposed revisions to the existing planning exemptions for the installation of solar panels on the roofs of houses and certain non-domestic buildings. The proposed changes are aimed at increasing Ireland’s generation of solar energy and national action on climate change.


Under the draft regulations the following is proposed:


  • For solar panel installations on houses: it is proposed to increase the existing planning exemptions for installing solar panels on rooftops of homes, regardless of their geographical location. Solar installations will be able to cover the entire roof of a house, subject to minor setback distances from the edge of the roof.

  • For solar panel installations on rooftops of all other existing classes of development (Industrial; Light Industrial and Business Premises; Agricultural): rooftop solar installations covering the entire roof are proposed to be exempt from requiring planning permission. However, in 43 proposed solar safeguarding zones, the existing exemption of 50 m2 or less is proposed to be increased to 60m2 per building. These proposed solar safeguarding zones, which constitute less than 3% of the country’s land area, are necessary to address aviation safety concerns due to the potential impact of glint and glare arising from increased solar developments in proximity to sites such as airports and hospitals (which have helipads). Anyone seeking to avail of larger rooftop solar installations within solar safeguarding zones can apply for planning permission.

  • Apartments; educational/community/religious/health/recreational buildings and libraries: for the first time, it is proposed to exempt the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of such buildings from requiring planning permission, subject to conditions and the rooftop area limit in proposed solar safeguarding zones.

  • Exemptions for wall-mounted and free-standing solar panel installations: free-standing solar panel installations for houses are exempted from the requirement to obtain planning permission subject to a 25m2 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 proposed to be increased to 60m2. In addition, wall mounted solar installations of 60m2 will also be exempted for industrial and agricultural buildings.

Minister Burke stated:


“Houses, regardless of location, will soon be able to install solar panels on their roofs without any requirement for planning permission, which I know will be very welcome to many homeowners. Draft proposals for community/educational/religious buildings will also give institutions 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 to play their part in climate action and to reduce their energy bills".