New ROI planning exemptions  

Pub conversions are now exempt, while all rooftop solar panels are slated to become planning exempt.

If you’re house hunting and come across a pub for sale, don’t be put off. New planning laws mean you can convert it into a family home without having to apply for permission.  

    Typically, any change of use would require planning permission. There are of course some strings attached, including the need for the pub’s licence to have lapsed.  

     If you already own a home, know that the government is also working on extending the exemptions for rooftop solar panels and for wall mounted and free standing installations. 

    At the moment, roof mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels are planning exempt if they are up to 12 sqm or half of the total roof area, whichever is the lesser.  

     If the changes come into effect, solar installations will be able to cover the entire roof of a house, subject to setback distances from the edge of the roof. The current exemption limit for wall and free standing installation is 25sqm and this would be increased to 60sqm.  

     These draft regulations aim to bring ROI in line with the EU’s Solar Rooftops Initiative which supports a target of generating up to 380MW (approximately one million solar panels) of microgeneration. The ROI government’s Climate Action Plan aims to generate 2.5GW solar electricity by 2030.

New guidelines 

Helping homeowners and installers to design and install solar PV systems is the National Standards Authority of Ireland, see, as it recently published a Standard Recommendation on the topic. 

    SR55 provides guidelines for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of single phase PV systems which are classed as microgenerators by ESB Networks (inverter with export rating up to 6kVA). 

     These moves come as homeowners are now eligible to receive a Clean Export Guarantee tariff from their electricity supplier when exporting excess electricity, and can apply for a grant to install PV panels from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, see 

UPDATE October 2022: The rooftop solar exemptions have come into force. You can now install as many solar panels as you want on your roof (unless you’re near an area where aircraft is landing) without seeking the consent of your local authority.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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