Planning Permission for Solar Panels in Ireland

Joe Brennan
Feb 18, 2023

Are you finding the process of acquiring planning permission for solar panels in Ireland daunting? At Going Solar, we understand that the process may seem intricate and confusing. But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring you’re fully informed and prepared. Ready to embark on this solar journey? Keep reading to learn more.

Understanding Planning Permission for Solar Panels in Ireland

In Ireland, solar energy is increasingly recognised as an effective way to combat climate change and reduce energy bills. However, before you take the leap and install solar panels, there are a few things you need to know about planning permission in Ireland.

What is Planning Permission?

In simple terms, planning permission or development consent is the consent given by local authorities permitting the construction or alteration of structures. It’s a process to control the environment and ensure that any development is in the public interest.

When is Planning Permission Required?

According to Ireland’s planning and development regulations, installing solar panels on your home usually doesn’t require planning permission as long as certain conditions are met. However, if your property is a protected structure or is located in an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA), you may need to acquire planning permission.

Conditions for Exemption from Planning Permission

Here are some of the conditions that must be met to avoid the need for planning permission in Ireland:

  • The solar panels, including any necessary ancillary equipment, should not exceed 12 square meters or 50% of the total roof area.
  • The distance between the plane of the wall or roof and any part of the panel should not exceed 15 cm.
  • The height of the panels should not exceed the height of the roof.
  • Panels should not be installed on the front wall of the house.

Planning Permission Specifics for Different Buildings

The requirements for planning permission for solar panels in Ireland can vary depending on the type of building. Let’s delve into the specifics:


As previously mentioned, solar panel installations for houses are usually exempt from planning permission as long as the conditions outlined above are met. However, planning permission may be necessary if the house is protected or in an Architectural Conservation Area.

Industrial Buildings and Business Premises

Industrial buildings and business premises, such as warehouses or light industrial buildings, also typically fall under the exemption from planning permission. But, if the solar panels’ installation exceeds the limits established in the planning and development regulations, planning permission will be required.


For apartment buildings, the planning permission requirements are similar to those for houses. If the solar panels and ancillary equipment don’t exceed 50% of the total roof area and meet the other conditions, planning permission is generally not required.

Public Buildings (Schools, Hospitals, Churches, Community Centres)

Public buildings such as schools, hospitals, churches, and community centres usually have larger roof areas, providing greater capacity for solar panels. However, as these buildings are often of significant architectural or historic interest, planning permission is often required.


Farms often have a higher energy requirement, making solar panels a beneficial addition. Planning permission for farms follows the same general rules as houses and industrial buildings, with exemptions in place if the installation falls within the outlined conditions. However, planning permission might be required if the farm is in a designated scenic or conservation area.

What Are Solar Safeguarding Zones?

Solar safeguarding zones are areas where planning authorities have identified a need to protect the region’s solar potential. These zones are typically located around solar farms or other significant installations.

If your property is within a solar safeguarding zone, you may need to comply with additional restrictions or guidelines when installing solar panels. It’s best to consult with a professional solar installation company like Going Solar to navigate these unique requirements.

What if Your Proposed Solar Panel System is Not Planning Exempt?

You must apply for planning permission if your proposed solar panel system does not meet the exemption criteria. This process involves preparing and submitting a planning application to your local authority, often requiring architectural drawings and an outline of the project’s environmental impact.

At Going Solar, we’re well-versed in this process and can provide the necessary guidance and support. We believe in making the transition to solar energy seamless for all our clients.

How to Apply for Planning Permission in Ireland?

Should you need to apply for planning permission, Going Solar is here to help make the process as smooth as possible. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Pre-Application Consultation

It’s advised to consult with the planning authority in your local area before submitting your application. They can provide valuable advice and let you know if your proposed development will likely be approved.

Step 2: Prepare the Necessary Documentation

A typical planning application consists of the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A location map
  • Site layout plan
  • Elevations and floor plans of the solar panel installation

Going Solar can assist with the necessary architectural drawings and documentation needed for the application.

Step 3: Submit the Application

Once you have all the necessary documents prepared, you can submit your application to the planning authority. Keep in mind that there is a fee associated with the application submission.

Step 4: Notice of Decision

After submitting your application, the planning authority will make a decision within eight weeks. They may grant permission, grant permission with conditions, or refuse permission.

How Going Solar Can Help?

At Going Solar, we provide comprehensive solar panel installation services in Ireland, including assisting with the planning permission process. Our team of experts will guide you through the regulations and ensure that your solar panel installation adheres to all local and national guidelines.

Benefits of Going Solar in Ireland

With a clear understanding of the planning permission process for solar panels in Ireland, let’s explore why solar power is worth the effort.

Environmental Impact

One of solar power’s most significant benefits is its positive environmental impact. Solar panels generate clean, green energy, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and significantly decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Financial Savings

Solar panels can significantly reduce your electricity bills. With the right setup, you might generate more power than you consume, allowing you to sell the excess back to the grid.

Government Incentives

The Irish government encourages renewable energy sources, offering incentives for homeowners who install solar panels. The Solar Electric (PV) Panel grant can cover up to 30% of the total cost of installation.

Ready to Go Solar? We’re Here to Help!

When it comes to navigating the intricacies of planning permission for solar panels in Ireland, Going Solar is your trusted partner. Our experienced team is ready to guide you through each step, ensuring a seamless, compliant solar panel installation.

Don’t let the planning permission process deter you from harnessing the power of solar energy. Let us help you simplify the journey. Contact Going Solar today and take a confident step towards a sustainable future.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do solar panels require planning permission?

In many cases, residential solar panel installations in Ireland are exempt from planning permission, provided they meet specific conditions. However, planning permission is usually required for other types of buildings like industrial, commercial, institutional, or agricultural.

Is it legal to install your own solar panels in Ireland?

Yes, it’s legal to install your own solar panels in Ireland. However, hiring a professional company like Going Solar for the installation is advisable to ensure safety, efficiency, and compliance with all local and national regulations.

Do you need a licence for solar panels?

In Ireland, you don’t need a licence to install solar panels. However, you may need planning permission if the installation doesn’t meet the exemption criteria. Always check with your local planning authority to ensure compliance.

What are the maximum solar panels allowed in Ireland?

For residential properties, the solar panels, including any necessary ancillary equipment, should not exceed 12 square meters or 50% of the total roof area. The specific requirements can vary for other types of buildings, so it’s best to consult with your local planning authority.

How many acres do you need for a solar farm in Ireland?

The number of acres required for a solar farm in Ireland varies depending on the size of the project and the amount of energy you wish to generate. Generally, 1 megawatt (MW) of solar power requires approximately 4 to 5 acres of land. Solar farms can range from small-scale installations to larger projects requiring hundreds of acres. Consult with a solar panel installation company like Going Solar to discuss your requirements.

Do I need planning approval for solar panels?

In Ireland, most domestic solar panels do not require planning permission, provided they don't exceed a certain size and are installed on buildings (not standalone). However, it's always wise to check with your local planning authority or a solar installation company like Going Solar to ensure you comply with any specific rules or restrictions in your area.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Author Fahad Zahid
Founder @ Going Solar

Joe Brennan, the founder of Going Solar, is dedicated to making solar power mainstream in Ireland and meet SEAI objectives. With a focus on affordability and sustainability, he is bringing renewable energy solutions to homes, reducing costs & environmental impact.