Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (432)

Patricia Ryan


432. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Education if she will initiate a scheme to support schools to install solar panels; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6812/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department is at the forefront of design with respect to sustainable energy in school buildings and this performance has been recognised at both National and International level with sustainable energy awards for excellence in Design and Specification.

Schools that are designed and built in accordance with the Departments Schools technical guidance documents must achieve an A3 Building Energy Rating A3 and have typically up to 20% higher performance than required by the current Building Regulations, along with 10% of primary energy provided via photovoltaics and infrastructure provision for electric vehicle charging.

All new technologies and approaches are tested to ensure compatibility with school design and operational requirements. Successful and repeatable results are then incorporated into all new school designs and refurbishments.

My Department's Technical Guidance Documents set the benchmark for sustainable design in school buildings with a clear focus on energy efficiency and they are based on solid energy research projects. The Departments policy is supported by a strong research programme with forty eight research projects at various stages including its joint SEAI partnership energy website project

Solar PV is also funded for schools that are having their electrical installations replaced.

My Department and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland are involved in an energy efficient retrofit pathfinder scheme for schools since 2017. The longer-term outcome of the pathfinder will be to create an accurate and scalable model for energy efficient retrofits of schools across Ireland. A deep energy retrofit programme for schools built prior to 2008 is due to be rolled out from 2023 onwards and the role of solar PV will be considered in that context.