Over the next 12 months, all schools in Ireland will have the opportunity to receive complimentary solar panels as part of a €50 million climate action initiative. This scheme, initially outlined in last year’s budget, is set to commence gradually.
Primary and secondary schools can apply for this initiative in stages, with the application window extending until the end of 2024.
When does the scheme start?
The inaugural phase of the “Schools Photovoltaic Programme”, also dubbed, solar for schools program, will accept applications from more than 1,600 schools located in the specified regions, from 30th November 2023. All schools falling within this initial phase will receive communication from the Department and are encouraged to apply starting from the mentioned date.
The subsequent phase, encompassing eight additional counties in Q2 2024 and the remaining eight counties in Q4 2024, aims to ensure that all eligible schools nationwide have the opportunity to apply by the conclusion of 2024.
What are the benefits of the ‘solar for schools’ program?
The allocated funding aims to cover the acquisition and installation of solar panels for up to 4,000 schools, providing six kilowatts of roof-mounted solar PV, equivalent to approximately 16 solar panels per school. The scheme includes connecting to the grid, allowing surplus solar energy to be fed back when schools are not in session, thereby enabling compensation for renewable energy exports.
This collaborative effort between the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) and the Department of Education (DoE) is integral to the government’s strategy to meet the 2030 and 2050 climate action targets within the education sector.
Upon completion, the initiative is anticipated to help schools reduce energy costs and contribute to achieving the sector’s emission reduction targets, currently set at a 51% reduction by 2030.
Who can apply?
Ireland has approximately 3,200 primary schools and 700 secondary schools, but only a small percentage currently have solar panels installed—5% for primary schools and 10% for secondary schools. Delays in the initiative’s launch were attributed to the necessity of developing a streamlined approach across the entire school network, as indicated by officials from the Department of Education.
Key Dates for Schools Photovoltaic Programme Phase 1:
November 30, 2023: Applications open for over 1,600 schools
February 1, 2024: Deadline for schools to register for the program
March 15, 2024: Deadline for schools to submit quotations to the Department
May 30, 2024: Target date for completion of phase 1 PV installations
The initial phase invites schools from the following areas:
Co. Clare, Co. Donegal, Dublin City Council Area, Co. Galway, Co. Kerry, Co. Kilkenny, Co. Leitrim. Co. Limerick. Co. Offaly, Co. Waterford, Co. Wicklow.
How to apply for solar for schools program?
To apply for the solar for schools program, all schools much receive 3 quotes. Local Power can help provide you with a full solar quote, which will meet the requirements for the funding. The application must be made through the Department Portal.