Government plans to put solar panels on every school in the country

Eamon Ryan’s “rooftop revolution” will make the installation of solar panels easier and more cost effective for homeowners, businesses and public bodies

Every school in the country will have solar panels put on it, under plans discussed by Cabinet this week.

It is understood Ministers discussed a proposal to put photovoltaic panels on all schools throughout the country in a bid to help protect schools against rising energy prices into the future.

The proposal is in preparation with more details to be announced at a later date, sources indicated.

It comes as the Department of the Environment launched a new scheme offering supports of up to €2,400 for the installation of solar PV panels for businesses, public organisations and community groups.

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The scheme will be administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). In a statement, Minister for the Environment and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said a business could expect to save up to €3,000 a year from a solar PV system, off its electricity bill.

“With these grants, more businesses, organisations and community groups can start to take greater control of their energy costs by harnessing the power of the sun – providing for their own needs first, with the additional bonus of getting paid for excess energy that they might produce. With upcoming changes to planning exemptions, simpler grid application routes, export payment announcements, and capital supports from SEAI, it’s an ideal time for anybody to consider going solar to save money and help reduce our emissions.”

Mr Ryan said the new scheme was part of a wider roll-out of initiatives to make the installation of solar panels easier and more cost effective for homeowners, businesses and public bodies – labelling it “Ireland’s rooftop revolution”.

The scheme will provide grant funding up to a maximum of €2,400 towards the installation of solar PV technology up to a maximum of about 16 solar panels over a roof area of 25sq m.

Declan Meally, a senior official with the SEAI, said energy prices were “at an all-time high right now, due to war and conflict outside our control”.

“Organisations are looking at ways to reduce their reliance on expensive energy sources, and to switch to secure, clean and more affordable alternatives. These new grants for solar PV will help businesses and organisations to take control of energy costs now, and ensure that they are future-proofed with renewable electricity supply from their own roofs.”

Work is ongoing to allow for micro generators, such as those with solar panels installed, to receive payments for surplus electricity that goes back into the grid.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times