Limerick woman forced to remove solar panels from her roof

Planning regulations seriously out of touch with the new clean energy future

A Limerick woman will appear in Limerick Criminal and Licensing Court this morning (7/09/18) to defend her decision to install solar panels of the roof of her home in Gouldahover Estate in County Limerick.

Current planning guidelines limit the extent of solar arrays on rooftops permissible without planning permission to 12mor 50% of the roof space.  Ms Pasinska had installed 36mof solar panels without seeking planning permission.

On 14th June this year, Limerick City and County Council refused to grant retention for the 21 solar PV [1] panels she had installed on her roof, and they have since been removed. The decision was made on the basis that the ‘scale and visual impact on a substantial proportion of the roof create a serious visual intrusion in the residential estates and set an undesirable precedent for similar such development’.[2]

Friends of the Earth spokesperson Kate Ruddock commented,

The decision not to grant permission for a solar PV array sets a dangerous precedent that solar panels are not welcome in Limerick.  At a time when our climate emissions are literally going through the roof, Councils should be supporting not penalising citizens who install solar panels on their roofs and go to the expense of decarbonising their homes.”

                “Most buildings in Ireland rely on fossil fuels for energy.  The residential sector is a big contributor to climate emissions.  Our short term climate targets are already blown, but if we are to have any chance of meeting our long term objectives, almost every building in Ireland needs to be retrofitted and fossil fuels removed.  Solar PV will be a huge contributor to that. Panels should be sized based on how much power the property needs, not on how much roof space they take up.  This antiquated planning restriction needs to be removed”


In July of this year, one month after the decision, Limerick City was awarded €6.5 million in EU funding and is set to become the first Irish ‘Lighthouse Smart City’ [3] through the creation of a new ‘community microgrid’ where citizens generate and share renewable energy with each other.  This decision now calls into question whether Limerick buildings will be allowed to host solar arrays on their roof spaces, and thus generate sufficient power to allow local power matching through the proposed smart grid technology to happen.

Kate Ruddock continued,  

                “Friends of the Earth support Ms Pasinska and her endeavour to re-instate her solar PV array.  Government policy is pushing people to do their bit to reduce climate emissions.  As the first Lighthouse Smart City in Ireland, there are huge opportunities for Limerick to embrace and benefit from new clean energy technologies.  It is incredible disappointing to see Limerick take such an antiquated position in relation to building decarbonisation’

[1] Solar PV or Solar photovoltaic arrays consist of solar panels which convert the suns energy into electricty which can be used on site at source immediately, or fed into the national grid.
[2] The planning decision by Limerick City and County Council can be viewed at
[3] The +CityxChange (positive city exchange) is a smart city project submitted by a consortium of 32 partners including Limerick City and County Council from 11 countries. The fullscale project will receive €20 million in funding from Horizon 2020.  More information is available at

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