Ireland needs a "solar revolution" and the establishment of local green energy co-operatives is a practical and achievable goal, the leader of the Green Party has said.

"We want the start of a solar revolution. Every other country is starting to go with solar power, Ireland hasn't and we need to do that," Eamon Ryan said.

"I think the way we do it is also to make it community-owned. Not just solar power, but also wind power and biomass power, renewable power that is going to take over."

He was speaking as his party launched the Community Energy (Co-Ownership) Bill.

The new bill is based on Danish legislation and "offers the opportunity to localise the ownership of and the benefits of the renewable energy production in the communities where it these resources are situated.

"This bill will ensure renewable energy developers cannot access planning permission unless they offer 30% of the project to the local community," he said.

He said that 30% of the equity in new renewable projects can be mandated to be owned by the community.

In practice a co-operative of local people near a solar or wind farm would be able to buy in shares.

They would then get preferential terms for their electricity supply, meaning there is a real incentive for local people to benefit from renewable power.

"It is practical, achievable and makes sense in terms of developing Ireland as a solar nation," he said.

Mr Ryan also said most of the 990,000 householders who paid water charges are "disgusted" at the return of their money and they would have preferred if the money was invested in improving the water infrastructure.