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Planning Permission for Solar Panels

  • 13-07-2018 8:01am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    Hello,
    I have looked but not found anything, so please redirect if I missed something.

    We are looking at getting solar panels added to the house. Every company contacted has suggested a similar generation capacity, but the size of the arrays suggested is larger than what is allowed under planning law. Has anyone submitted a planning application just for the addition of solar panels and was it complicated or something that could be done with some engineering drawing ability?

    Many thanks
    RN


Comments

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    The exemption is 12m2 of panels (as long that is half of the space on your roof or less). One panel is 99cm*165cm, so 7 panels (between 1.8kW using 250W panels and 2.3kW using 330W panels) is the max to be exempt (8 panels is 13m2)

    How many panels are the companies suggesting?

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    Hello,
    I have looked but not found anything, so please redirect if I missed something.

    We are looking at getting solar panels added to the house. Every company contacted has suggested a similar generation capacity, but the size of the arrays suggested is larger than what is allowed under planning law. Has anyone submitted a planning application just for the addition of solar panels and was it complicated or something that could be done with some engineering drawing ability?

    Many thanks
    RN

    Where are you putting the panels?
    Front or rear roof?

    unkels figues above are correct for the planning exemptions

    Solar array can be exempt from requiring Planning Permission under SI83 of 2007 Class 2C of the Planning and Development Regulations 2007.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    Thanks Unkel and Kceire,

    The range is from 8 to 10 panels (have 5 quotes, all in this range) and would be put on the rear roof.

    While it is unlikely to cause problems at installation time (neighbours are reasonably decent sorts!) I fear that not having planning for 8 or more would cause problems if we decide to sell.

    The use of solar is not purely economic, I know that payback will be a long time (unless a FIT comes in or energy costs go up substantially (we are stuck on a FLOGAS monopoly so that is a possibility and don't really have the garden space to do an oil tank for conversion)) but the addition of architect fees on top of installation, just to submit a planning application, would make the payback too long to justify.

    Best wishes,
    RN


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Ah, so the PP is only for the front roof (visible from the road)?

    What about the rules about placing the panels at least a certain distance from the edges of the roof? Doesn't apply either on your rear roof?

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    unkel wrote: »
    Ah, so the PP is only for the front roof (visible from the road)?

    What about the rules about placing the panels at least a certain distance from the edges of the roof? Doesn't apply either on your rear roof?

    So after consulting the Actual Regulations, I think I may be wrong. The 12 Sq. M is within the curtilidge of the house, so that's front and/or rear.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Would be great for a lot of people here (myself included) if you could somehow get a definite answer on that one. I for one plan to eventually have the roof of my house and the roof of my kitchen extension and the roof of my shed plastered with panels :D

    You probably need to know this for sure anyway for your job?

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    unkel wrote: »
    Would be great for a lot of people here (myself included) if you could somehow get a definite answer on that one. I for one plan to eventually have the roof of my house and the roof of my kitchen extension and the roof of my shed plastered with panels :D

    You probably need to know this for sure anyway for your job?

    The shed comes under a different regulation. That can be covered completely too subject to shed height limits (3m/4m).

    With Velux roof lights, you can plaster your rear roof with them as they don’t alter the roof profile and currently no regulation to say you can’t, you are covered under Section 41H.

    But the Panels seem to be limited to 12 Sq. M in total!


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Nice one KC!

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    unkel wrote: »
    Nice one KC!

    I’m going to get a second opinion tomorrow though.
    Second opinion proves me wrong.

    12 Sq. M is the total for the entire roof.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,907 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    In the meantime I'll start plastering a bit more. Bought a further two 300W panels today :p

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



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  • Registered Users Posts: 817 ✭✭✭ studdlymurphy


    unkel wrote:
    In the meantime I'll start plastering a bit more. Bought a further two 300W panels today


    Where is a good place to buy? Thanks


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    The most up to date information I could find is from
    https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Conditional_Planning_Exemptions.pdf

    and states
    Total panel area must not exceed 12 sq. m or 50% of the total
    roof area including existing panels

    It was posted in October 2017

    RN


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    I think we are all missing the point here. A sensible system is 3kw or more, especially if you are looking at battery storage and making a meaningful contribution to your power consumption. The exemption is only up to about 2kw.

    The OP puts an interesting question - how easy is it to get planning for a 3 or 4kw system.

    Has anyone experience of this? If not, out of interest, I would call my local planning office and see what would be required. I imagine it may depend on location - if you are on the road passing the Cliffs of Moher, you might get a different response to being at the end of a long lane and out of sight.

    But we should be lobbying for a simplified planning process - a simple sketch that doesn't require cad/cam software etc.

    Lets ask our local planning offices and see what answers we get? I will do Skibbereen. Anyone else want to look for an answer to this in their area?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    I think we are all missing the point here. A sensible system is 3kw or more, especially if you are looking at battery storage and making a meaningful contribution to your power consumption. The exemption is only up to about 2kw.

    The OP puts an interesting question - how easy is it to get planning for a 3 or 4kw system.

    Has anyone experience of this? If not, out of interest, I would call my local planning office and see what would be required. I imagine it may depend on location - if you are on the road passing the Cliffs of Moher, you might get a different response to being at the end of a long lane and out of sight.

    But we should be lobbying for a simplified planning process - a simple sketch that doesn't require cad/cam software etc.

    Lets ask our local planning offices and see what answers we get? I will do Skibbereen. Anyone else want to look for an answer to this in their area?

    Standard planning application required. Simple sketches are enough once they are to scale and meet the DoE Drawing standards. You also need multiple copies.

    Its a simple task (for someone that does it on a weekly basis ;) )
    I've never lodged a specific planning for a larger than 12 Sq. M array but I have shown it on the drawings of a new build house that was approved.

    Lets ask our local planning offices and see what answers we get? I will do Skibbereen. Anyone else want to look for an answer to this in their area?

    I'll tell you exactly whats required :

    Newspaper Notice
    Site Notice OSi Maps
    Drawings to scale showing the plan, section and elevations of the panels and showing how the streetscape is effected
    Site Plan etc
    App Form
    Fee of €34
    Lodge and wait 2 months for a decision :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    kceire wrote: »
    I'll tell you exactly whats required :

    Newspaper Notice
    Site Notice OSi Maps
    Drawings to scale showing the plan, section and elevations of the panels and showing how the streetscape is effected
    Site Plan etc
    App Form
    Fee of €34
    Lodge and wait 2 months for a decision :)

    I fear that is the case (called, was told to send an email, will update if they reply). How do you go about getting the OSI maps, Site plan etc. During build that is fine, but is there an easy way for your average Jane or Joe?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    I fear that is the case (called, was told to send an email, will update if they reply). How do you go about getting the OSI maps, Site plan etc. During build that is fine, but is there an easy way for your average Jane or Joe?

    No need to fear, it is the case for every planning application in the country.
    OSi maps are purchased from Ordnance Survey Ireland. Your site plan, elevations all have to be drawn up by somebody that’s capable of drawing them to DoE standards and to get through But planning Validation.

    The maps make no difference whether you are during a build or after a build, it has no relevance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    kceire wrote: »
    No need to fear, it is the case for every planning application in the country.
    OSi maps are purchased from Ordnance Survey Ireland. Your site plan, elevations all have to be drawn up by somebody that’s capable of drawing them to DoE standards and to get through But planning Validation.

    The maps make no difference whether you are during a build or after a build, it has no relevance.

    Probably phrased wrong, but yeah, that will be the case. Maybe as quentingargan suggested, it might be worth lobbying for easier applications for situations like this, especially in estate houses or not close to "places of natural beauty".

    I was also wondering about the restrictions, 12 m2 or 50% of the roof, which ever is less. Are there any houses where 12m2 is half the roof size??

    Looks like I will be scrapping the solar plans for the moment at least.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    I was also wondering about the restrictions, 12 m2 or 50% of the roof, which ever is less. Are there any houses where 12m2 is half the roof size??

    Usually the roof has a north and south facing side, so less than half the total roof is used unless it is a monopitch house.

    I would still give it a go with phoning your local planning office and seeing would they take a Google Earth map, a photo of the front of the house and a sketch of what you have in mind. There are organisations arguing for reduced planning restrictions.

    In my experience, many houses have done this without planning and take the view that if there is a difficulty later, you can look for retention on the basis that there has been no complaint, but i know others here would be (rightly) scathing of using the retention system.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    Usually the roof has a north and south facing side, so less than half the total roof is used unless it is a monopitch house.

    I would still give it a go with phoning your local planning office and seeing would they take a Google Earth map, a photo of the front of the house and a sketch of what you have in mind. There are organisations arguing for reduced planning restrictions.

    In my experience, many houses have done this without planning and take the view that if there is a difficulty later, you can look for retention on the basis that there has been no complaint, but i know others here would be (rightly) scathing of using the retention system.

    Even with a monopitch roof, I can't think of any structures I know of where they would exceed the 50% restriction before the 12m2 restriction.

    I have contacted them, but not sure how long they will take to reply. Or if they will give any concession.

    I would like everything to be above board as I wouldn't like to be in a situation in a few years, needing to sell, and having problems because of 2 or 3 solar panels too many.

    Although...

    When constructing the system, is it easy to add or remove panels? Would it be easy to put up 7, apply for planning permission and then add 3 more, or vice versa, if there was a problem down the line, removing 3 during a sale?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    When constructing the system, is it easy to add or remove panels? Would it be easy to put up 7, apply for planning permission and then add 3 more, or vice versa, if there was a problem down the line, removing 3 during a sale?
    On a two story house, getting scaffolding in place is a large chunk of the cost. Other than that, adding to a system or taking from it is easy enough.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    On a two story house, getting scaffolding in place is a large chunk of the cost. Other than that, adding to a system or taking from it is easy enough.

    So from an economical point of view, either all at once, or only for major changes.

    Thanks for the guidance.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    Probably phrased wrong, but yeah, that will be the case. Maybe as quentingargan suggested, it might be worth lobbying for easier applications for situations like this, especially in estate houses or not close to "places of natural beauty".

    I was also wondering about the restrictions, 12 m2 or 50% of the roof, which ever is less. Are there any houses where 12m2 is half the roof size??

    Looks like I will be scrapping the solar plans for the moment at least.

    I don’t agree with lobbying for relaxed planning requirements for panels. Why not relax then for vehicular entranced, or Velux windows etc

    The planning system is there to make it uniform throughout the country and in my
    Personal experience, it is already relaxed based on the fact that their is less drawings required for this type of application as it would be for a house extension etc

    Usually the roof has a north and south facing side, so less than half the total roof is used unless it is a monopitch house.

    I would still give it a go with phoning your local planning office and seeing would they take a Google Earth map, a photo of the front of the house and a sketch of what you have in mind. There are organisations arguing for reduced planning restrictions.

    In my experience, many houses have done this without planning and take the view that if there is a difficulty later, you can look for retention on the basis that there has been no complaint, but i know others here would be (rightly) scathing of using the retention system.

    Google earth photo won’t suffice. Correct and scaled drawings are the only way to go. The sketches have to scale and have to be reproduced 6 times to scale. Google earth photos could be up to 10 years old so do not give a correct opinion of what the street scape looks like presently.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    kceire wrote: »
    I don’t agree with lobbying for relaxed planning requirements for panels. Why not relax then for vehicular entranced, or Velux windows etc

    The planning system is there to make it uniform throughout the country and in my
    Personal experience, it is already relaxed based on the fact that their is less drawings required for this type of application as it would be for a house extension etc


    Most of the desire for an easier planning application for panels or an increase on the allowed area, on the back roof of a house, in an estate, comes from current personal frustration.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    Most of the desire for an easier planning application for panels or an increase on the allowed area, on the back roof of a house, in an estate, comes from current personal frustration.

    I understand that, but somewhere else is another guy that’s frustrated because he has to apply for planning to create a vehicular entrance, and another guy because he needs planning for the small Velux in the front of his roof.

    There’s loads of little areas that people want planning relaxations on, but when you combine all the items that all the various groups want the relaxations for, then what’s the point of planning.

    I think they could alter the legislation to allow for the 50% on front roof slope and no max area to the rear maybe.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    kceire wrote: »

    I think they could alter the legislation to allow for the 50% on front roof slope and no max area to the rear maybe.


    I am not even looking for all of that, 'no max area on the rear' part would do me!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,627 ✭✭✭ quentingargan


    Kceire - you might know about this. I read in a report on a commercial project that;

    In practice many installations can avail of exemptions on the basis of 50% of roof area rather than 50 m2. The owner can ask the local authority to obtain a ‘Section 5 Declaration’ confirming exemption or apply for planning as may be required.

    Has anyone come across this option? And could the same declaration be made for residential?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,303 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    Kceire - you might know about this. I read in a report on a commercial project that;

    In practice many installations can avail of exemptions on the basis of 50% of roof area rather than 50 m2. The owner can ask the local authority to obtain a ‘Section 5 Declaration’ confirming exemption or apply for planning as may be required.

    Has anyone come across this option? And could the same declaration be made for residential?

    Section 5 application is purely the official form for asking the council “if this required planning” and you submit as much details as possible, such as plans, drawings, photographs. The more detailed the info you get the more detailed your answer will be.

    If they state it is exempt, then you can carry out the works. If they state it requires planning, then you lodge planning.


  • Registered Users Posts: 66 ✭✭ simpsimp


    Just in case anyone is interested in the updates to planning around Solar PV, this just in from the Minister of State for Housing...

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I wish to refer to your correspondence to Mr Peter Burke T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning in connection with Solar Panel Installations.

    I wish to advise that under the Planning and Development Act, 2000, as amended (the Act), all development, unless specifically exempted under the Act or associated Regulations, requires planning permission. Section 4 of the Act and Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended (the Regulations), set out various exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission. Any such exemptions are subject to compliance with any general restrictions on exemptions set out in the Act or the Regulations and to the specific conditions set out in each class of exempted development in Schedule 2 of the Regulations. Included in the planning exemptions set out in the Regulations are those applying to the installation of solar infrastructure on a variety of building types, including houses, businesses, industrial and agricultural to which specific conditions are attached.

    The Department, in the context of the Climate Action Plan and in consultation with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, has undertaken a review of the solar panel planning exemptions set out in the Regulations, with a particular focus on facilitating increased self-generation of electricity.

    This review is now complete. Substantial changes to the current planning exemption thresholds for solar panels are proposed, as well as the introduction of new classes of solar panel planning exemptions relating to their use in apartments and in educational/community/religious buildings. 

    In light of the need to appropriately address aviation safety concerns arising from the “glint and glare” impacts of solar panels and the easing of the solar panel planning exemption thresholds, the Department is in the process of commissioning the development of detailed aviation safeguarding maps which will identify and delineate specific but limited areas in the vicinity of airports and aerodromes (referred to as exclusion zones) within which the exemptions will not apply. Project scoping feedback has been received from interested parties through the draft Request for Tender process and has been considered by my Department in the development of the final Request for Tender documentation. The Department intends to publish the call for tender shortly. 

    Whilst this work is ongoing, the Department has advanced interim regulations, adopting a temporary, albeit more stringent, radial approach incorporating initial defined exclusion zones around airports and aerodromes. These interim regulations, allowing for increased solar panel planning exemptions, will cover the vast majority of the land area of the country, only excluding those limited exclusion zones around airports and aerodromes.

    The draft interim regulations have been reviewed under the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive 2001/42/EC and it has been determined that they are likely to have significant effects on the environment, necessitating the undertaking of a full SEA on the draft proposals. It is anticipated that the formal SEA process will commence, with consultation with the statutory environmental authorities to inform the content of the Environmental Report, following the completion of the screening for Appropriate Assessment by my Department’s Ecological Assessment Unit. The SEA Environmental Report will be published alongside a draft of the interim regulations for a period of public consultation of not less than 4 weeks. This public consultation is expected to commence shortly. A copy of the draft interim regulations and the Environmental Report will be made available for inspection over this period. Written submissions or observations will be taken into consideration before finalisation of the draft interim regulations in early 2022.

    As required under planning legislation, the proposed exempted development regulations must be laid in draft form before the Houses of the Oireachtas and receive a positive resolution from both Houses before they can be made and the SEA process concluded. 

    Accordingly, the process for finalising the interim solar panel planning exemptions as referred to above, with interim exclusion zones around airports and aerodromes, is expected to be completed in 2022. As outlined, pending the finalisation of the aforementioned aviation safeguarding maps, these interim regulations will allow for the vast majority of the country to be covered by the proposed new solar panel exemptions apart from those areas in close proximity to airports and aerodromes.

    Work on the development of the aviation safeguarding maps for airports and aerodromes is expected to be completed in Q2 2022. The final supplementary set of regulations - delineating the final exclusion areas around airports and aerodromes in which the exemptions will not apply - will be prepared thereafter and, subject to environmental reporting considerations, will subsequently be laid in draft form before the Houses of the Oireachtas for approval in a timely manner. 

    I trust that this clarifies the position



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,097 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    So no details really, we all knew it was under review, it's the details we want



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