Social Democrats propose ambitious solar panel programme for 100,000 homes

The Government needs to urgently ramp-up investment in solar energy in next week’s budget, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore, the party’s spokesperson on Climate and Biodiversity.

Speaking after the launch of the Social Democrats’ alternative budget, Deputy Whitmore said:

“Budget 2023 must have a focus on creating a more sustainable Ireland, allowing individual households to become more resilient to energy price and supply shocks.

“Our alternative budget calls on the Government to commit to installing solar panels on 100,000 homes over the next two years. Around one million homes in Ireland are suitable for solar panels but do not have them installed.

“This is a wasted opportunity as we grapple with skyrocketing energy costs and a climate emergency.

“We have proposed an initial €200m fund to provide grants to households to install solar panels, which will help reduce emissions and cut electricity bills by an average of up to 40 percent over the course of a year.

“The initial tranche of funding should be targeted at low-income households, using the same eligibility criteria as the Warmer Homes Scheme. It is crucial that the installation of solar panels is provided free of charge to those most at risk of energy poverty.

“In addition to targeting 100,000 homes, we have also called for a doubling of the existing grant for solar panels. There should also be a parallel move to install solar panels on public buildings, including schools.

“Separately, the Government needs to look at adopting a more flexible approach when it comes to planning regulations surrounding solar panels. At present, planning permission depends on the size of a home’s roof, but these rules should be relaxed to reflect the urgent response that this crisis requires.”

September 22, 2022

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