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MREF welcomes revisions to proposed planning exemptions for roof-top solar energy

The Micro-Renewable Energy Federation (www.mref.ie) has welcomed new regulations which exempt roof top solar PV installations from the requirement to obtain planning permission and which were presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage this week, where further significant amends were discussed and agreed.

These new regulations will be presented before both houses of the Oireachtas next week and are now expected to be signed into law by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage immediately afterwards.

Commenting, Pat Smith, Chairman of the Micro-Renewable Energy Federation said that further amendments to the planning requirements within ‘safe solar zones’ (where a ‘safe solar zone’ is a 5kw diameter zone around airports) was a practical and welcome development and followed strongly held concerns and representations made by the Micro-Renewable Energy Federation during the recent public consultation on the new regulations. 

Mr. Smith said: "The maximum area of solar panels on a roof that will be exempt from planning within these safe solar zones is being increase from 60 sq m to 300 sq m. Outside of 34 ‘safe solar zones’ across the country, no planning requirement will be necessary for roof top solar PV installations. These revised regulations represent a very welcome, and long overdue development which will remove a further a major policy barrier to the widespread adoption of solar energy by homes, farms and businesses up and down the country.”

Mr. Smith complimented Minister of State, Peter Burke TD, and his officials at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage who he said have worked tirelessly to get these regulations finalized and over the line. Mr. Smith said that he expected that the remaining steps to give effect to the new regulations would now be finalized in the coming days.

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