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Policy Matters Solar on Schools

Email your TD to demand change

At Friends of the Earth, our project ‘for the love of solar’ is designed to help schools all over Ireland go solar.

We think every school, community building, sports club and local authority should go solar, to generate clean renewable energy right from their rooftops.

We know that is not happening yet in Ireland.  And you might be surprised to know the reasons it is not happening has nothing to do with the sun and everything to do with Government.   

The rules requiring planning permission for even one solar panel on a school, and the fact that small renewable generators, like schools, have no right to sell any extra power they generate makes the economics of an investment in solar really really hard. 

We are trying to change these rules, and give power to the people, and students of Ireland to take part in this essential transition of our energy system away from dirty climate polluting fossil fuels, towards clean renewable energy. 

We find the knowledge and enthusiasm of our young people to take action on climate change inspiring.  We hope you do to.  Join us.  For the love of solar. 

Can you take 2 mins to email your TD to make sure supporting small renewable generation is on their agenda?  We know the Department already fully supports this, and have already drafted the proposed legislation.  It is just a matter of political will to put it on the agenda and make it happen.  Sadly Eoghan Murphy just didn't.  

For the Love of Solar

Change the rules for Solar Schools

We love Solar Power! It's clean, free and zero carbon, but in Ireland we have hardly any of it.

And the reason why has nothing to do with how much sun we get! It's because Ireland has unique rules that are designed to make installing solar panels REALLY hard. It is particularly hard for schools.

Can you sign our petition, and help us change the rules? This one is a no brainer.

We are working with schools to install solar so we can show all the benefits of solar, and highlight the challenges. Schools need planning permission for even one solar panel, and they cannot easily sell or share any of the energy they generate at weekends when they are not there to use the power. 

Without a feed-in-tarrif, so much unused renewable energy goes to waste. We want communities to be able to earn money by selling their energy back to the grid.

Minister after Minister has agreed with us that the rules for solar are too restrictive. Yet, action is yet to follow words.

It's time for action, sign the petition!

Are you a school?

Lots of schools have already signed up to help change the rules so every school can be a Solar School. See the schools signed up on the map below. You can sign up too here at this link.


I'm sick of plastic and I want to see action

Tell the new Climate Minister to support Waste Reduction Bill!

We are all sick of plastic. 

Everyday in Ireland we use more than 500,000 plastic-lined coffee cups that can't be recycled, more than 2 million plastic bottles that don't get recycled, and supermarkets foist more and more packaging on us. Meanwhile, micro-plastics are making the fish we eat sick, and if we keep going the way we are, plastic waste will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050.

But there are solutions.

We must press the Government to adopt an ambitious Single-Use Plastic plan that embraces the circular economy.

Such measures must include the following:

  • A Deposit Refund Scheme which would place a deposit on all plastic and glass drinks bottles as well as cans, which would be refunded when you bring the container back for recycling. In countries where they have a scheme like this recycling rates are as high as 98%. We had a deposit and refund scheme for glass bottles in the past. It's time to do it again.

    *We know producers and retailers are lobbying hard against a deposit and return scheme because they say it would be inconvenient or too expensive. Independent research shows the scheme would cost about 1c per bottle. We need to show that people really want to see action on plastic and don't want supermarkets and big business dragging their heels.
  • Introduce a 'latte levy' on all single-use coffee cups and take-away containers to encourage reuse.

    *Your average coffee cup has an inner plastic lining, and therefore cannot be recycled. Many cafés have joined the Conscious Cup Campaign and offer customers a discount, double loyalty points, or like coffeeangel do, make a donation to Friends of the Earth every time someone brings a reusable cup.

  • Enforce a ban on the most problematic single-use plastic items such as straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and cups.

  • Move away from compostable options as this still supports a throw-away culture.

  • Encourage and reward the use of reusable items. There is a better way than throw away.

What Irish supermarkets can do

  1. Offer more items without packaging, such as fruit and vegetables (without plastic trays, wrapping and nets) at competitve prices

  2. Make their own-brand packaging easily reusable, compostable or recyclable, and use less plastic

  3. Demand, through their purchasing power, that other brands they carry have easily reusable, compostable or recyclable packaging, and use less plastic

  4. Blaze a trail in Ireland by implementing a plastic free aisle, as has been done in the Netherlands

  5. Provide items in bulk, where possible, to reduce packaging

  6. Allow shoppers use their own containers to buy dried goods, deli items, salads, fish etc - buying only what they need

Sick of Plastic is a national campaign in partnership with VOICE Ireland.

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