Upperchurch National School in Tipperary is the first Friends of the Earth Solar School. Panels were installed over the Halloween mid term break, and the school is now generating its own electricity right from its roof!!
We have four more to go in Dublin, Limerick, Mayo and the Aran Islands. We think every school should be a solar school by 2025, and we are lobbying hard at Government to support this.
And they are listening! Minister Murphy has committed to changing the planning regulations, so schools dont have to apply for planning permission which they do at the moment for even one solar panel AND the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland have disclosed they will be offering grants for solar panels for schools from next year.
In 2018 we launched our Solar Schools competition, where five schools won solar panels so that they can power themselves with renewable energy straight from their rooftops.
Schools will be excited to know we will be launching a second competition in September, so even more schools can generate their own energy! Every winning school receives a 90% grant for their solar panels and all of the technical and bureaucratic support needed for the installation of the solar panels.
This competition is an excellent opportunity for communities to participate in renewable energy generation, and schools are the ideal place for valuable community-based education to occur. The competition will play an important role in encouraging communities to take the first step on their sustainable energy journey.
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.
Power to the People is our campaign to achieve the electricity-related key results of the Strategic Objective on emissions reduction, by putting citizens and communities at the heart of the transition to 100% renewable power.
We’ve made good progress on our campaign to change the planning regulations to allow solar panels on schools. Two weeks ago the Sunday Business Post reported that planning regulations would be changing to facilitate solar panels on buildings, including schools. We're continuing our campaign for legislation to seal the deal on this and make sure it happens.
Councillors around Ireland have been supporting this too, and both Galway County Council and Westmeath County Council have passed motions recently supporting a change in the planning regulations.
We’ve reached a critical juncture in our campaign for renewable, community owned energy. In a matter of months we could finally have a support scheme for small renewable energy microgenerators. But this scheme could end up being very good - or pretty bad. The difference hangs in our collective hands!
We've been campaigning for this type of scheme for years. And now - finally - the Government has agreed that it’s needed!
Join us for a webinar this week! We'll be launching this stunning handbook for communities from Friends of the Earth Europe, and and exploring the opportunities for Irish communities in the energy transition in 2021 with Minister Eamon Ryan.
Community energy is key to action on the climate crisis, boosting local economies, and reinvigorating communities. We’ve been campaigning for clean, community energy for a long time. It’s been a tough battle at times but things are finally starting to look bright!
After years of campaigning on Community Energy, things are now looking bright! Last month Eirgrid held the first ever Irish renewable electricity auction, which gave the go ahead to 82 wind and solar parks, including two community owned solar parks from our partners at Community Power.
Covid-19 created some delays for our Solar Schools 2020 winners but we will soon be back on track getting solar panels on their roofs. This year we had 8 winners and 8 runners up. Our winning schools will be generating their own clean energy and championing the solar revolution in Ireland.
Congratulations to all our winners!
We can’t wait to work with these primary and secondary schools and get going with their local climate action projects.
Special congratulations to St Munchins in Limerick who became the newest Solar School this month! Their newly installed6 kw array of solar PV panels will generate about 5,070 kWh per year for the school, to power lights, computers, photocopiers etc., saving about €800 while avoiding 3,000kg of CO2 a year.
Thank you to our panelists and participants for tuning into our webinar 'Energy Democracy & Community Power' yesterday evening.
Cliona Sharkey, Policy Advisor with Trócaire, Paul Kenny, CEO of Tipperary Energy Agency and John Fogarty of Community Power, Ireland’s first community owned electricity supplier joined us for a lively discussion on the question;
How can we build energy democracy in our communities so that everyone has access to community power?
If you missed it, you can watch it back here in the video below.