As experts in the renewable energy space, we often get asked questions about whether solar panels are worth it in a country where days can be grey and rainy, and the short answer is yes, solar panels are worth it in Ireland. You don’t need year-round sun for PV systems to be effective. Although we are aware of the benefits that solar energy holds for the environment and our pockets, we are often left with questions regarding the technology and how exactly it works. For example, does solar energy work well in areas with fewer sunshine hours, or is it only suited to warmer and sunnier climates?
The fact is, solar panels can work almost anywhere, even somewhere as rainy as Ireland. We have been installing Solar Panels in Ireland from Dublin to Cork and everywhere in between for the past 6 years. Our customers will attest to the suitability of our Irish climate. The reason for this is that most modern photovoltaic or PV solar panels do not use heat from the sun’s rays to produce energy, instead, they convert the invisible UV light into electricity.
Of course, solar panels can be more effective in areas with longer solar days, however, they can be used to supplement a large portion of the electrical energy needs of most households and corporations, even ones based in Ireland.
Installing Solar Panels is an Investment
The world is changing rapidly, and fossil fuels are quickly becoming an unsustainable fuel source. People are becoming increasingly more environmentally conscious. Solar energy is one of the cleanest, most versatile, and renewable forms of energy there is, which makes it the responsible choice when it comes to powering your home. Solar technology has improved in leaps and bounds over the last few years and the solar panels and inverters that are available today are extremely efficient, meaning that smaller solar systems can generate more power.
Lower Energy Bills
Yes, the main advantage of installing a residential or commercial PV system is reducing your monthly utility bill. However, this is not the only advantage that having solar panels in Ireland offers. Installing a green energy system like PV solar panels increase the value of your property immediately and make it especially interesting to buyers who are looking to live a greener lifestyle. Of course, having a solar-powered home also drastically reduces your carbon footprint which is good for you and the earth.
“Solar panels can lower energy bills by providing a renewable energy source right on your roof, thereby lessening dependence on the energy grid and possibly giving full independence one day. With net metering, homeowners who generate more solar energy than needed can transfer that power to the utility company in exchange for credits that allow them to use traditional energy at no extra cost. It’s perfect for those cloudy days or times when you are using more power than usual and provides a hybrid model so all your energy needs are met. Solar panels can also act as a personal “gas pump on the roof” when homeowners integrate their EV chargers into their solar panel system.”
Josh Kitt, Director of Sales, EcoMark Solar
Solar Panels Are Flexible
Solar technology has progressed to the stage where solar power can now be combined with grid power. These systems are referred to as hybrid systems and they give you the best of what both systems have to offer. In areas where solar systems are not able to generate enough energy, a hybrid system offers the option of replacing part of your energy consumption with renewable solar energy. Hybrid grid-tie inverters also ensure that you will always have enough electricity available, come rain or shine. Several more advanced systems even allow you to pump extra energy back into the electrical grid, which can further reduce your monthly utility bill.
The Right System For Every Application
When it comes to solar panels, there is no one size fits all solution. Every scenario is unique, and it is, therefore, important to make sure that you use expert solar installers to plan and execute your solar energy system. Installing solar energy can often come with a high initial cost, this is because the equipment that is required must be purchased and installed upfront before you can enjoy the savings that solar energy brings. Planning your system correctly and choosing the right equipment is essential because it avoids overspending or ending up with a system that doesn’t meet your requirements. Many people ask do solar panels work on cloudy days too and the the reassuring answer is yes.
Integrate with Other Home Appliances
Solar panels offer a lot of flexibility and inverters are often equipped with specialised software that allows the system to automatically prioritise energy delivery during the day. For example, a typical solar system would use the energy it generates primarily to provide the electrical energy required throughout the day and then recharge storage batteries to provide electricity during the night. Once these goals have been met, excess energy can be used to power EV chargers or supplement home and/or water heating systems.
Can Combine with an EV Charger
If you have already made the switch to environmentally friendly electric motoring, you can further reduce your carbon footprint by combining a solar power system with a domestic EV charger. When using energy harvested from the sun to charge your electric vehicle, you can drive around town for next to nothing and do as little harm as possible to the environment. The smart PV systems and domestic EV chargers from Wizer Energy are compatible with each other and can be paired easily.
Can You Save Costs With a Solar Power System
The perceived high initial cost of solar panel installations often scares potential users away from installing the technology. However, while the initial installation costs can be high, PV solar power systems have a long lifespan, and the cost of installation can be recouped easily. To illustrate this, the average household electricity usage in Cork in 2021 was €1006 per annum, however with a 10 panel PV System this becomes €503 per annum, which is a whopping 50% in savings!
In addition to this, solar panel installation in Ireland is made more attractive by the SEAI Grant that the government offers for the installation of green heating and energy production systems. When it comes to the cost of solar panel systems, it is important to take the long view and realise that although you may not see immediate savings, you will in the long run be doing yourself a favour by installing solar energy.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
In recent years, the cost of manufacturing solar panels has been reduced by as much as 80%. The good news is that these savings have been directly passed on to consumers. There are several factors which determine the price of solar panel installation. The more panels you require, the more expensive the installation will be. Furthermore, it’s usually more expensive to add solar panels to older properties.
However, don’t let this put you off. A typical family home with three bedrooms will require a system with 10 solar panels. After taking advantage of an SEAI grant, the final cost of a 10-panel system is around €7,600. But are solar panels worth it in Ireland? Although there is some uncertainty about the rising costs of energy, a 10-panel system can save the average family around €900 per year on their energy bills. Generally speaking, most systems pay for themselves after 7 years.
What’s more, solar panel systems are incredibly durable. Our solar panels are backed by a 30-year guarantee, which is considerably longer than the standard warranty period. Additionally, solar panels require little maintenance, meaning you won’t have to factor in additional running costs.
Solar panels also protect you financially in the long term. As you’re utilising a renewable and abundant energy source, you don’t have to worry about the rising cost of wholesale fuel prices. Solar panel technology can add a premium to property value. A simple solar panel array can yield an increase of more than 4% in your home’s value. As energy price uncertainty becomes more of an issue, expect this premium to soar.
Grants for Solar Panels Ireland
Looking to mitigate the cost of solar panel installation? The good news is that you may be eligible for a SEAI solar electricity grant. To qualify for one of these grants, your property will need to have been constructed and occupied before 2011. However, there are some exceptions. If your property has previously benefited from SEAI assistance, you won’t be able to claim further grants.
Are solar panels worth it in Ireland when grants come into the equation? If you qualify for an SEAI grant, they certainly are. A typical installation can receive assistance worth as much as €2,400. The SEAI provides grant assistance of €900 for every kWp, up to 2kWp. For every additional kWp, an extra €300 in grant assistance is provided. Many PV systems use a battery to store surplus electricity. If you’re thinking about having a battery installed, additional grants of up to €600 can be accessed.
To get started, you’ll need to select a registered SEAI solar PV company like Wizer. Next, make an application for a grant directly to SEAI. Once your application has been received, you should receive a formal grant offer within five working days. Any grant made will be valid for up to 8 months.
Once your solar PV panels have been installed, you’ll need to arrange for a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate to be completed. This, along with documentation from installation, then needs to be submitted to SEAI. A final application for payment can then be processed. Generally speaking, it will take no longer than 6 weeks for your grant payment to be issued. However, additional inspections are sometimes required, which can delay the process slightly.
Get Paid for Any Extra Electricity You Produce
In 2021, the government unveiled the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS). This scheme was developed to encourage homes and businesses to embrace renewable energy generation. However, it also provides the framework for low-level consumers to export any surplus electricity they don’t use. The overall aim of this scheme is to drive Ireland’s micro-generation capacity, providing an additional 2.5GW of solar power to help meet Climate Action Plan objectives.
This also comes as good news for homeowners who’ve invested in solar panel technology. If their systems regularly produce a surplus of energy, they can sell it back to the grid at a small profit. Historically, homeowners have been paid well below market rate for any excess electricity they sell. The MSS strives to make it easier for homeowners to enjoy a more competitive rate for their surplus. The Clean Export Premium (CEP) is currently valued at €0.135/kWh. While this may seem like a low figure, it’s markedly higher than the average wholesale electricity price.
So, Are Solar Panels Worth It in Ireland?
This brings us back to the original question. Are solar panels worth it in Ireland? The answer is a resounding yes, solar panels are not just worth it in Ireland, they are the smart way to go when it comes to energy generation. Although it may seem like the Irish weather is not conducive to the use of solar panels, Ireland does have enough solar hours to justify the use of PV systems. In fact, it is possible to replace at least 70% of most household’s energy needs with clean solar energy. In the case of commercial solar power installations even higher percentages can be achieved.
It is important to make sure that you use a reputable installer when installing your PV solar system because only in doing so can you be sure of an expert installation and maximum cost savings. Wizer Energy has several years of experience in planning and installing PV solar panels in Ireland of various sizes, and they can offer you the expert advice that you need. They also install the best equipment in a way that meets all the required safety regulations.
Solar energy is one of the best, if not the best sources of renewable energy and it is something that no Irish home should be without. By installing a solar power system you increase the value of your property and play your part in the reduction of greenhouse gas generation. Environmentally friendly energy sources are here to stay and investing in solar power is one of the biggest favours that you can do for yourself.
Are you ready to explore your options when it comes to solar power in Ireland? Contact Wizer Energy today for an obligation-free consultation, the environment, and your wallet will thank you for it.