Plans to bring forward planning exemptions for solar PV (photovoltaics) could be realised by as early as next month, according to the Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF).

This comes after the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, confirmed to the chair of the MREF that he is going to bring forward the planning exemptions for solar PV which he now expects to be introduced by the end of March 2021.

Welcoming the decision, MREF chairman Pat Smith said that he is delighted that the minister and his team had looked positively at the suggestion to ringfence issues around airports which were delaying the matter, and move now to ensure that all homes businesses and farms across the country could benefit from the new planning exemptions.

Smith said that these planning exemptions are “critically important to the wider adoption of roof top and small ground mounted solar PV systems and were very much in line with custom and practice right across Europe.

For example, in the UK it is possible to put up to 1,000kWp of solar PV or 6,000m² on a roof without the need for planning.

Smith encouraged the minister to ensure that these exemptions are extensive and that, going forward, no home, business or farm should require planning to install solar PV.