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Follow French lead and install solar panels in car parks – McGahon

30th December 2022 - Senator John McGahon

Installing solar panels on car parks across the country would increase Ireland’s renewable energy supply, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Fine Gael Senator John McGahon has called on Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Daragh O’Brien to follow the lead of France and make it a requirement for all large car parks to install solar panels.

“Such a move to install solar panels in car parks is an effective way to generate and increase the supply of renewable energy in Ireland,” he stated.

Last month, the French government passed legislation forcing all large car parks in the country to install solar panels in a move to drive renewable energy forward.

“The fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is making all European countries review their domestic energy supplies and seek more sustainable resources.

“French legislation now requires car parks with 80 to 400 spaces to install solar panels in the next five years, whereas larger car parks will only have three years to comply.

“According to the French Government around eleven gigawatts of energy could be generated if all car parks comply, which is equivalent to ten nuclear reactors.

“This is the type of radical move that is required to increase renewable energy supply and should be followed by Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Daragh O’Brien.

“Minister Eamon Ryan recently confirmed that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage would have responsibility for considering such a measure through the European driven ‘Energy Performance in Buildings’ directive.[1]

“The Minister for Climate Action also confirmed that the Department of Housing has not considered such a measure.

“The onus is on the Minister for Climate Action and the Minister for Housing to take radical measures and put forward legislation that would increase our supply in renewable energies.

“Renewable energy sources used in the generation of electricity in Ireland has increased from 5% in 1990 to 42% in 2020, however over half of that energy production is from wind[2]. Comparatively, solar energy is the lowest source of energy generation in the State. “

“It may be sunnier in France than it is here, nevertheless solar panels only need daylight to generate power,” Senator McGahon added.[3]

[1] Environmental Policy – Wednesday, 16 Nov 2022 – Parliamentary Questions (33rd Dáil) – Houses of the Oireachtas

[2] Energy – CSO – Central Statistics Office

[3] FAQs_on_Solar_PV.pdf (

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