February 11, 2022
No excuse for slow progress on solar-powered schools – Darren O’Rourke TD and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TDs Darren O’Rourke and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire today slammed the government for their failure to allow schools across the country to install solar panels to reduce their electricity costs and contribute to our renewable energy production.

Sinn Féin’s Climate Action spokesperson Darren O’Rourke TD said:

“There are almost 4,000 primary and post-primary school buildings across the state that hold huge potential to generate renewable energy through solar PV.

“Unfortunately, they are prevented from installing solar panels due to outdated regulations.

“This has been an issue for years and the government has still done nothing about it.

“It is extremely frustrating when obvious environmental wins like this are not realised due to inaction. 

“The Green Party are bringing forward a Bill in the Seanad next week on this, despite the party actually being in government.

“The government has the ability to change the regulations if they wish, so this move appears to be more of a publicity stunt rather than a move that will have any immediate benefit.”

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said:

“With the huge rise in energy costs, school budgets are being squeezed more and more. We know that these additional costs often fall to parents, in the form of voluntary contributions and other fundraising activities.

“Installing solar panels on school buildings would allow schools to reduce their electricity bills, heat water and sell their excess back to the grid.

“It would be a win for schools and for the climate.

“It is unacceptable that this long-running issue has not been resolved by the government.

“The leader of the Green Party sits next to the Minister for Housing at Cabinet, who could bring these regulations in overnight if he wanted to. Clearly the Greens at the Cabinet table do not have the political will to get this done.  

“Sinn Féin will continue to keep the pressure on the government to make solar-power in our schools a reality.”

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