Schools in 11 counties are now eligible to apply for funding for solar panels under the first phase of the school solar panel scheme.

Counties Galway and Leitrim are included in this phase.

It comes more than a year after the national plan was first announced.

The funding will help schools reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions with the installation of up to 16 roof-mounted solar panels per school, which equates to six kilowatts worth of power.

Currently just 5% of primary and 10% of post-primary schools in Ireland have photovoltaic panels installed.

In September 2022 the Government announced the scheme for schools. Minister for Education Norma Foley said funding would be made available "in the coming months". However, this did not happen.

€50 million has been allocated to the solar panels for schools programme under the Climate Action Plan.

The Department Of Education said the amount of money that a school could save would depend on a number of factors but it said, typically a school can expect to save in the region of €1,200 to €1,600 per annum on their bill.

Schools will also be funded to connect to the grid so that unused solar energy can be utilised when schools are closed.



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