Is a Solar Panel Installation in Ireland Legal?

Solar panels have become mainstream in many Irish homes in recent years. This entire situation would have been a distant dream had Ireland not been committed to renewable energy use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Almost 60,000 residential homes have solar power systems on their rooftops today. According to the Irish Times, 500 houses connect to the grid every week.

Despite the impressive statistics, people are still unsure whether solar PV installation within property perimeters is legal without proper planning and permission. The blog today will address this doubt once and for all. So, if you are perusing it to understand the legalities around solar panel installation, please do so and be mindful of the details.

Does Solar PV Installation Lead to Violation of Any Legal Statute?

To promote solar energy generation, the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan allows homeowners and some non-domestic buildings to install solar panels on their rooftops. Seeking planning permission is unnecessary as long as they fulfil certain criteria. No visual impact on the surroundings, the right roof angle and orientation, and others like no environmental impact on ecologically sensitive areas are a few to name.

It is advised to consult a solar panel installation expert to stay compliant with all sorts of regulations, local and national. The concerned individual can guide you on the restrictions, one of which is seeking additional permits for properties stationed in solar safeguarding zones. Adhering to fire safety regulations is another requirement for the work to be performed without risk.

Legal Frameworks to Conform to When Installing Solar PV

By now, you must have gathered an idea about the legality of harnessing electricity from sunlight within residential premises. Yes, it’s lawful, on condition that you follow certain regulations and permissions. Three of them are discussed below:

  1. Planning Permissions

As discussed already, planning permission is not mandatory on farms, industrial buildings, or homes. There are exceptions, though. They are for buildings where the panels protrude by more than 9 inches from the roof, are visible from roads, or when the buildings are protected structures. Experts advise viewing the rules for planning permission under S.I. No. 493/2022.

  1. Protected Structures

Planning permission is mandatory when the buildings are protected structures. Here, the term ‘protected structure’ implies a construction with special architectural, social, and cultural interests. Take a peek into the Planning and Development Act 2000 to get an idea about the rules underlying such structures.

  1. Building Regulations

Experts use the term ‘building regulations’ to refer to safety measures related to fire, structural, and electrical systems. Setting up solar PV demands the involvement of a qualified installer registered with the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland). Upon completion, it’s also mandatory to attain a Certificate of Compliance with Building Regulations.

DIY or Certified Installation: Which is Legal?

These are the two primary options available during installation.

You will be relieved to hear that DIY installation is legal, resulting in cost savings for homeowners. However, people usually avoid it for fear of matching up to a certain standard, where technical expertise, understanding of system components, and knowledge are key factors.

In response to the challenges faced during DIY installation, a certified installer comes to the rescue. Of course, hiring one is a legal option with benefits like peace of mind, long-term benefits, and potential savings, encouraging homeowners to consider it.

In conclusion, both the installation options are legal.

Summing Up:

A sustainable future where greenhouse gas emissions are under control is not far away in Ireland. Now that you know that setting up solar PV is legal, go ahead and take the initiative. Seek the guidance of certified installers to stay within the bounds of legality. Apart from the solar panel price, you may have to shell out minimal prices for installation, but you can ensure safety and meet all the necessary regulations. Think about it.

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