Archive for Energy

Do You Need Planning Permission to Install Solar Panels?

 

The new SEAI grant for solar Photo-voltaic (PV) panels is a welcome addition available to Irish households built and occupied before 2011.

The grant is available for all new Solar PV installations from Tuesday 31st July 2018 and more information is available here.

Solar Photo-voltaic (PV) works on the principle that energy in the sun is converted to electricity. PV cells are used to convert solar radiation into Direct Current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity is then inverted to Alternating Current (AC) electricity for use in buildings or export to the grid. When light shines on the PV cell an electric field is created across the silicon conducting layers which causes electricity to flow.

The energy available from the sun is measured in kilo Watt hours per square metre per year (kWh/m2/year). The angle and orientation of the solar array is very important. Generally a photo-voltaic installation requires a large southerly facing roof or field space. Panels are either pre-constructed encapsulated glass/plastic or in some cases may take the form of roof tiles or semi-transparent PV glazing units. There are some costly systems which can track the sun over the course of a day throughout the year. A traditional roof up to a pitch angle of 35? is best for PV output. Trees, chimneys and other buildings should be avoided to minimise any shading effect.

Do You Need Planning Permission to Install Solar Panels?

The installation of solar panels on domestic properties is exempt from planning permission under the Planning and Development (Amendment) Regulations 2007, subject to certain conditions.

These conditions are as follows:

  • The size of any such panel together with any other such panel previously placed on or within the said curtilage, shall not exceed 12 sq. m or 50 per cent of the total roof
    area, whichever is the lesser;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

  • The distance between the plane of the wall or a pitched roof and the panel shall not exceed 15 cm;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

  • The distance between the plan of a flat roof and the panel shall not exceed 50 cm;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

 

  • The solar panels shall be a minimum of 50 cm from any edge of the wall or roof on which it is to be mounted;

(see 1st image)

  • The height of a free standing solar array shall not exceed 2 metres at its highest point, above ground level;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

 

  • A free standing solar array shall not be placed on or forward of the front wall of the house;
Solar Panels - Conditions to be exempt from Planning Permission, Ireland 2018

(click image to enlarge)

 

 

  • The erection of any free standing solar array shall not reduce the area of private open space to the rear or side of the house to less than 25 sq. m.

 

New Solar PV Pilot Scheme 

This new scheme provides a grant towards the purchase and installation of a solar PV system and/or battery energy storage system.

This will take the form of a once-off payment. The eligible technologies will be solar PV systems (including metering etc.) and battery storage systems.

The scheme is expected to operate for 2 years with regular reviews expected every 6 months.

The maximum grant support levels are as follows:

  • Solar PV Systems    €700/kWp
  • Battery Storage      €1,000

 

Eligible systems are:

  • Solar PV Systems up to 2kWp
    (about 6 to 8 panels)
  • Solar PV system with battery storage up to 4kWp
    (Battery to meet scheme requirements)

Homeowners are required to complete a Building Energy Rating (BER) on their home after the supported works have been completed.

Grants may only be claimed after the measures are fully completed and the contractor has been paid by or has entered into a financing agreement with the homeowner.

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a brief summary of the regulations with regards when planning permission is required and is provided for general guidance only. For full details contact your local council planning department. The relevant Regulations and the Planning Authority should always be consulted when in doubt.

School of the Future Information Tool

The School of the Future Information Tool was created within the EU FP7 project School of the Future (ENER/FP7/260102,) and completed in January 2016.

The aim of the project is to design, realise and communicate good examples of future high performance buildings.

The internet-based tool provides a wide range of useful information for the energy-efficient renovation of school buildings as follows:

  • case studies presenting successful energy retrofitting solutions for educational buildings;
  • explanatory notes relating to renovation measures;
  • national benchmarks for the comparison of characteristic consumption values;
  • indoor comfort parameters for classrooms.

 

 

 

The tool also comprises interactive resources, which enable the user to compare self-measured characteristic values to mean values and requirements.

You can access the tool here.

 

School of the Future has also developed another tool that allows the calculation of the energy performance of a school building before and after applying energy saving measures (ASCOT Light).

The purpose of the ASCOT tool is to assist the user in evaluating and thereby optimise the economical costs of a building renovation project in relation to sustainable development issues. The current version, “ASCOT Light”, is targeted towards school buildings.

A simple spreadsheet is the base for this energy performance calculation tool. The tool is available in 4 languages (English not included) and can be downloaded here.

 

Why Use Ground Source Heat Pumps in Ireland?

 

Ground Source Heat Pumps are an efficient method of harnessing Geothermal Energy. These systems provide significant cost savings compared to fossil fuel alternatives as well as providing environmental benefits.

The image below from Geological Survey of Ireland explains how a ground source heat pump works. How ground source heat pumps work

© Geological Survey of Ireland 2015

 

In Ireland the ground maintains a constant temperature between 11°C and 13°C, several metres below the surface.

 

Ireland has warm moist soils and a climate which is ideally suited for harnessing shallow geothermal energy year round. The soil type in Ireland allows this heat to be retained, while the frequent rainfall keeps the soil moist. This moisture within the ground is an excellent heat conductor, allowing heat to move towards your collector system. This favours the deployment of horizontal collector systems in many parts of Ireland.

(Source © Geological Survey of Ireland 2015, ‘Ground Source Heat’ & ‘Shallow Geothermal Energy’ Homeowner Manual)

There are other types of heat pumps but the earth’s constant temperature is what makes geothermal heat pumps one of the most efficient, comfortable, and quiet heating and cooling technologies available today. The ground ensures a relatively stable supply of heat for the heat pump and higher performances than air-source ones.

What are typical system installation costs?

The installation guide price outlined below is for a 4 bedroom detached property with a BER of C1 and allows for 200 square metres (m2) of underfloor heating. The costs include the cost of the heat pump and the groundworks for the installation of a loop.

Heat pumps Costs 2012

© Geological Survey of Ireland 2015

The initial capital costs of installing a ground source heat pump system is usually higher than other conventional central heating systems. But typically, four units of heat are generated for every unit of electricity used by the heat pump to deliver it, and the payback time is typically about 8-10 years.

Geological Survey of Ireland published in March 2015 a publication that aims to help readers with the decision to purchase and install a domestic ground source heat pump (GSHP) system for home heating. You can download this publication here:  ‘Ground Source Heat’ & ‘Shallow Geothermal Energy’ Homeowner Manual.

GeothermalHomeownerManual_Page_01

The Geological Survey of Ireland has produced a series of ‘ground source heat suitability’ maps. These maps provide a useful preliminary screening tool to assess what type(s) of ground source heat collector system is most appropriate. Separate maps have been produced for horizontal and vertical and closed and open loop systems.

The ground source collector suitability maps can be queried interactively via the GSI’s webmapping at http://www.gsi.ie/Mapping.htm

For more information on the maps and ground source and geothermal resources, please see http://www.gsi.ie/Programmes/Groundwater/Geothermal.htm


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