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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘When a school powers its lights using the power of the sun, it lower bills’

The government will provide every school in Ireland with free solar panels as part of the country’s ‘rooftop revolution’.

That is according to Minister Eamon Ryan, who announced plans to provide free solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for every school in the country as part of today’s Budget 2023 package.

The Department of the Environment’s Climate Action Fund will fund the measure.

Free solar panels

Green Party spokesperson for Planning and Local Government, Steven Matthews TD, believes this will be “transformative” for schools facing the current energy crisis and trying to manage “tight” budgets.

He said: “New planning exemptions, fought for by the Green Party, are also expected within days. This will finally remove the onerous red tape and barriers to installing solar panels on schools, farms, homes and public buildings.”

“While this initiative makes sense in the context of the immediate energy crisis, it also helps schools secure energy independence in the long-term.”

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“It plays a part in the Green Party strategy to create an Ireland 100% powered by renewable energy.”

According to the statement, there are 3,277 primary schools and 548 secondary schools in the country, all of which will be eligible for funding.

Rooftop revolution 

Green Party spokesperson for Education, Senator Pauline O’Reilly, added that it “makes absolute sense” that solar panels should be installed in every school in Ireland.

She said schools would “lead by example” in Ireland’s rooftop revolution.

She commented: “We need to act now to protect our children’s future and ensure our younger generations are educated in climate-neutral energy resources.”

“When a school powers its lights and whiteboards for free using the power of the sun, it means lower bills and more money for schools.”

Moreover, she said we have the potential for “lots” of solar power in Ireland, but “very few” solar panels generate electricity.

“The reason for that has nothing really to do with our weather or perceived lack of sun, and everything to do with policy and red tape.”

“That is about to change. I cannot wait to see this transformation in cities and villages across the country,” the senator concluded.

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