Galway schools to benefit from solar panels scheme

Schools across Galway will be fully funded to install up to 16 solar panels on their roof under a new Government scheme.

The new solar energy scheme for schools will allow them to benefit from reduced energy costs and lower their emissions, said Senator Pauline O’Reilly this week.

Under the Department of the Environment's Climate Action Fund, eligible schools will be given funding so they can install a six kilowatt roof-mounted solar PV system.

It is estimated that such a system could save the school in the region of €1,200 to €1,600 every year on their energy bills. Schools will be able to sell their excess energy back to the grid when it is not being used. Schools can start applying from November 30.

Schools will also be given monitoring software that will allow students and staff to monitor the energy being generated and help educate students on the value of solar energy.

Galway is one of 11 counties that have been prioritised for the roll out of this new scheme, which will be rolled out on a phased basis, starting with a call for applications to more than 1,600 schools from the 11 designated counties.

Schools in Co Clare, Co Donegal, Dublin City Council area, Co Galway, Co Kerry, Co Kilkenny, Co Leitrim, Co Limerick, Co Offaly, Co Waterford and Co Wicklow are invited to participate in the first phase.

“I’m thrilled that Galway schools will be some of the first in the country to avail of this new scheme," said Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly. "It is something I have raised on a number of occasions and I’m glad that the Department of Education has started the roll out.

“Around the country we have started to see solar panels appearing on homes, since the supports championed by the Greens in Government have been made available.

“However, many of our public buildings, and in particular our schools, have not had solar installed. This scheme is going to change that. Hopefully in the short term we see all schools being able to avail of this scheme and schools who want to put more on, can be supported to do that.

“Making our schools more energy efficient is a win-win," she added. "It’s also a valuable learning opportunity for young people to see the practical side of delivering solar energy.”

Minister for Education Norma Foley and Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ossian Smyth, launched the commencement of the first phase of the Schools Photovoltaic Programme this week.


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