Friends of the Earth urges Taoiseach to follow through on fair payment for solar electricity

With the Government due to publish its new plans for renewable electricity any day now, Friends of the Earth is bringing its “Run On Sun” campaign back to Electric Picnic. Last year, Leo Varadkar was one of 6,000 festival goers who signed a petition for a fair payment for solar electricity. This year, Picnicers will be petitioning Leo to follow through and use his new-found power as Taoiseach to “let there be light”.

Commenting, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan, said:

“In Ireland, solar power is the only renewable electricity that does not receive any state support. Anyone who puts a solar panel on their roof must give away any electricity they don’t use themselves to the national grid for free. That makes no sense.

“Leo Varadkar signed our petition for a fair payment for solar electricity at Electric Picnic last year. Now he’s Taoiseach he has the chance to follow through, and put citizens and communities at heart of the energy revolution”

Outside of Ireland a “rooftop revolution” is taking place all over the world with schools, home-owners, farmers and businesses installing solar panels on their buildings and making money from the electricity they generate. Already, 1.5 million Germans generate solar electricity on their roofs, and in the UK 10,000 megawatts of solar energy have been deployed since 2010, compared to 1 megawatt here.

Friends of the Earth has just published research showing that paying households for the solar electricity they generate can be done at a reasonable cost and in a fair way, and the social benefits of supporting solar are as important as the megawatts. People want to feel part of the energy revolution we urgently need to beat climate change.

The Government promised to put citizens and communities at the heart of the transition to a clean energy system in its Energy White Paper, but almost two years later, is there still no scheme to support rooftop solar.

Friends of the Earth is bringing 150 volunteers to Electric Picnic this year. They will be helping festival-goers increase recycling, running the desposit and return scheme on plastic glasses and bottles, and talking about how Ireland can unlock is solar power potential.

Picnicers will be signing a petition calling on Leo Varadkar to follow through with on his support for “a fair payment for solar electricity” at last year’s Festival.

The public can join our call by signing a petition at and on Twitter at #RunOnSun.



  1. Our new report examining the costs and benefits of supporting residential rooftop solar power was published on Tuesday.

  2. Our petition for a fair payment for solar electricity is online here:

  3. For more information on the work Friends of the Earth volunteers are doing at Electric Picnic related to waste, read our blog from last year here:

Comments are closed.