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A solar revolution for Kilkenny's schools

November 23rd, 2023

With the official launch today of the government's 'Solar for Schools' scheme, I'm delighted to see that schools in Kilkenny will be among the first in the country to be able to apply for free solar panels when applications open next week, November 30th.

As my colleagues, Ministers Norma Foley and Ossian Smyth, launch the first phase of the Solar for Schools scheme this afternoon, I'm urging schools across Kilkenny to grab this opportunity and apply for the 6 kilowatts of roof-mounted solar PV, or roughly 16 solar panels, that's will be fully funded by the government's Climate Action Fund.

Providing solar panels to every school in the country is a great, practical measure, and an incredible opportunity for schools to reduce both their energy bills and their carbon footprint. It also gives us the chance to educate students about the role of renewable energy in helping Ireland reach its climate goals, so as well as providing free solar PV panels to schools, the scheme includes monitoring software and teaching materials so that students and staff can track how much energy is being generated each day.

I've already seen first hand the huge enthusiasm for the Green Schools Programme in our schools in Kilkenny, and the knock-on effect of that is our kids then encourage greener actions at home. By engaging kids in renewable energy generation we can inspire them to bring home what they’re learning about the benefits of PV panels to their parents, and keep Ireland’s ‘rooftop revolution’ going.

The other huge advantage for schools is that their solar PV panels will also have the potential to feed surplus energy back into the electricity grid, so as well as saving money on their energy costs, schools can potentially generate income by helping to power homes and businesses with clean energy when the schools are closed at weekends and during school holidays.

In terms of the potential for saving money, there are a number of factors to consider, but the average school with a 6 kW Solar PV installation could expect to save between €1,200 and €1,600 per year on their bill when the money they’ve earned for selling electricity to the grid is taken into account.

I can’t imagine there is any school principal in Kilkenny who won’t be interested in availing of this scheme, and I'll be writing to every school in the county next week to urge them to apply. It’s practical, it’s smart, and it’s win-win – schools across the county will now see their electricity bills drop while they also do their bit for the climate.


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