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Another Win for Community Power!

Posted by Claudia Tormey on July 23, 2019 at 01:27 PM

solar house1

Thanks to the generosity and action of our supporters, real change is now on the horizon.

Six weeks ago we emailed our supporters to tell them about a family home in Limerick that was forced to take down their solar panels becuase of a breach in planning permission rules. We asked you to chip in to help fund an appeal to change the rules. In order to unlock the potential for solar we need to break down lots of barriers like this. 

The rules for solar panels in Ireland are way too restrictive. There are barriers to installing panels, accessing grants and selling any excess power you generate. There are so many communities across Ireland trying to take real action on climate change, but keep coming up against the same silly rules.

And guess what, the appeal was won!

This week, An Bord Pleanala made a landmark decision to support solar panels on peoples homes. In doing so they overruled a decision by Limerick Council to refuse them, and now have set an important precedent for anyone wishing to install solar panels on their buildings in all local authorities.

Asia and her family inadvertently broke the law by putting up too many solar panels on their home in the subarbs of Limerick. Too many solar panels? Yes. The existing law allows for a small number without planning permission, and she had too many, so they fined her and forced her to take them down.

It’s not just homes these restrictions apply to. Schools or community buildings need to go through significant cost and delay in order to get planning permission to put up just one solar panel. Asia appealed her case to An Bord Pleanala. Its not a cheap process. There were costs for fees, and professional studies and drawings.

We asked our supporters for help for an essential study on ‘glint and glare’, and thankfully we raised enough money to fund it. And, it was worth it. She won her case! We won! And not only that, Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, has committed to reviewing all rooftop solar planning restrictions by the end of the year and promises to make the laws less restrictive.

We spoke to Asia this week and she thanked everyone who has helped her, and reflected that her 2.5 year battle has had a purpose, and she can look in the eyes of her daughters and say she was fighting for something bigger than solar on her rooftop, she was fighting for their futures. And we all stood beside her.

Hands Up 4 Solar!

We want every roof in Ireland to be able to generate renewable energy. Our recent Solar Schools project is a real example of how it can work, but it also unveils the barriers faced by communities and households. Hands Up 4 Solar is inviting school students, teachers and parents to back the campaign to break down these barriers. Read more and sign up here​!

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