How Much do Solar Panels Cost?

solar panels on a house with a car in front

Many of us will ask, “how much do solar panels cost” and wonder if they are a good investment in a country with a climate like Ireland. Solar panels in Ireland will roughly cost between €8,000 and €15,000, depending on factors such as the size of the system, the brand, the size of the house and many more factors. Solar panels have become more accessible to a larger number of Irish households in recent years and the advantages that the technology offers are now more accessible than ever before.  There are roughly 60,000 homes in Ireland with solar panels.

Solar panel prices in Ireland are also decreasing, with government grants and discounts making it easier for everyone to enjoy the perks of clean renewable energy. Furthermore, most homeowners no longer require planning permission, slashing the cost of installing solar panels even more. For businesses that can prove their sustainable credentials, there are government aid options like the Non-Domestic Microgen Grant, which can also be used to offset solar panel costs.

However, despite cheaper solar panel installation costs, many people are still asking whether or not solar panels are worth it in Ireland. Wondering whether renewable energy is worth getting excited about? Below, we’ll explore the true cost of solar panel installation, along with the lucrative financial benefits that come with installing a solar panel system.

Is the solar energy hype real?

Ireland’s climate change strategy has led to a significant increase in the number of solar panel installations in recent years. As of 2023, more than 60,000 homes in Ireland have solar panels. By 2030, the goal is to have completed more than 250,000 installations, while generating 80% of Ireland’s electricity demand from renewable sources like solar.

Achieving these targets seems likely now that the cost of solar panel installation in Ireland is lower than it ever has been. In April 2023, the government further incentivised renewables when it announced 0% VAT on solar panel installation for homeowners. Thanks to these savings and tax breaks, solar panel systems can now pay for themselves in as little as 7 years.

Direct savings on bills

Everyone’s feeling the pinch lately, with the cost of living continuing to rise. For most people, it’s ballooning electricity costs that are causing the biggest headache. As of November 2023, an Electric Ireland customer with average usage can expect to pay around €1,909 annually.

“When installing a solar power system, consider the long-term investment,” Slaven Litera, Wizer’s Director of Operations, commented. “The initial costs might seem high, especially with larger houses. However, consider the long-term savings on energy bills. Over time, this should offset the installation costs.”

The moment you invest in solar panels, you’ll start seeing savings on your monthly electric bill. With every KW of energy generated by solar panels, you’re drawing one less from the grid that you must pay for. The more panels your system has, the more money you’ll continue to save. An average Irish household can expect to replace around 70% of their energy requirement with electricity produced by their PV system.

Sell your surplus

If you’ve invested in a large PV system, there may be times when it’s generating more electricity than you can realistically use. You can use storage batteries to hold onto this surplus for later or sell it back to the grid. Thanks to the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS), customers who produce more power than they need can now make a tidy profit from their surplus.

Every solar-powered homeowner with electricity to spare is eligible for the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) tariff, which ensures you receive payment at a competitive rate for any energy you sell to your supplier. However, certain conditions apply. For example, your system will need to be equipped with a smart meter and grid connection if you plan on making money from the electricity you’re not using.

Slaven Litera weighed in on this, saying, “Another possible way to save money is by selling extra energy to the grid. This option is especially viable for households that do not use much electrical energy.  In some situations, solar panel systems can generate more electricity than required and this extra energy can then be pumped back into the electrical grid. 

Increase your property value

Looking for more reasons to switch to solar panels? How about boosting the value of your property? There’s only so much refurbishment you can carry out on a house before there’s nothing left on your to-do list. However, permanent solar panel installation will give your property the edge over neighbours, making it a premium listing in a competitive housing market.

While property prices might be falling elsewhere in Europe, that’s not the case in Ireland. At the start of 2023, the Residential Property Price Index (RPPI) was up by 6.1% compared to the same point 12 months previously. Meanwhile, the average price of a home in Ireland was €305,000. In other words, buying a house is more expensive than ever. For budget-conscious buyers who’ve just spent their entire savings on a property, the instant savings offered by solar panels are hard to resist.

How much do solar panels cost in Ireland? 

The exact cost of installing solar power in your home is influenced by many factors and can only be determined accurately after a site visit and needs assessment. Some of the factors that determine the cost include:

  • How much electrical energy do you need daily, expressed in kilowatts? 
  • The peak power output level that you require, for example, for powering devices such as boilers, kettles, and space heaters, requires a higher peak power rating than powering devices such as lights and computers. 
  • Blackout protection: systems that can keep the lights on during a blackout cost more than systems that do not offer this capability.
  • Energy storage: systems that can store electricity in a battery bank are more costly than systems that cannot do this. However, having a battery bank allows you to replace a larger part of your energy needs with solar power because you can use stored electrical energy at night. In addition, the power generated by your PV system can be used to power EV chargers, which reduces the operating costs and carbon footprint of electric vehicles. 

As can be seen from the below examples, the cost of installing solar panels can differ from household to household. Generally speaking, a PV system for an average 3-bed house should cost in the region of €10,000. You can further reduce the cost of installing a PV system by making use of the SEAI ( Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland ) grant, which is available for many renewable energy projects.

The below image shows the average prices for various system sizes:

how much do solar panels cost in Ireland

How do solar panels save you money? 

As mentioned earlier, PV systems can be a great investment and can help you save money in a variety of ways. The first and most important saving is the direct savings on your monthly electric bill. Each KW of energy that is generated by your solar power system represents one less KW of energy that you need to buy off the electrical grid. Depending on the size of your solar panel system, this can lead to significant monthly savings. On average, Irish households can replace up to 70% of their energy needs with energy generated from renewable sources when installing a PV system.  

Another possible way in which money can be saved is by selling extra energy to the grid. This option is especially viable for households that do not use much electrical energy. In some situations, solar panel systems can generate more electricity than required, and this extra energy can then be pumped back into the electrical grid. The user is then paid for this electricity, which results in another direct saving. Solar panels can also be used for heating and generating hot water. Hot water and heating can account for much of a household’s energy bills, so replacing some or all of the costs related to this with renewable solar energy results in further savings on monthly energy bills.

Are they worth the cost in Ireland?

solar panels on a conservatory

Yes, most definitely. Many of us are inclined to think that the Irish weather is not particularly suitable for generating solar power. We often get asked, do solar panels work when it’s cloudy? However, this is not the case. The advances in solar panel technology have increased the effectiveness of solar panels immensely. Modern commercial PV systems can generate electricity from both daylight and direct sunlight. Although Ireland experiences many rainy and overcast days, there is more than enough sunlight and UV rays to generate decent amounts of renewable solar energy 

The reduced costs of modern solar panels have made it even more feasible to install solar power in Ireland, and the steady increase in energy costs will further improve the affordability of solar panels in the future. The versatility of solar panels means that they can be used to power EV chargers, which can help people save money on their daily transportation needs and reduce the environmental impact of cars.  In addition to this, PV systems can be combined with other systems like infrared heaters which makes them well worth the expense. 

While the initial costs associated with installing a solar power system might seem high, it is important to remember that you are making an investment in your property and effectively future-proofing your energy needs. Installing a solar power system should be seen as a long-term investment and not a pure cost, especially when asking how much solar panels cost. The savings that you will make on your energy bill will, in time, offset the cost of installing a PV system.  This term is generally around 7 years.

Conclusion

When asking ‘how much do solar panels cost’, it can be difficult to answer the question with one figure. The exact cost of a PV system installation is dependent on many variable factors, but it is clear that solar power is the way forward in Ireland and the rest of the world. The advantages that PV systems offer are numerous, and they easily outweigh the cost of installing a modern commercial PV system.

Are you ready to make a smart investment in solar panels today? Contact Wizer Energy today for an obligation-free consultation. The environment and your wallet will thank you for it.

Wizer Energy offers solar panel services nationwide, including CorkWaterford, Dublin, and Limerick, as well as EV charger installation and FAR Infrared heating installation services.

Author Bio

Martin Desmond

Martin is the Managing Director of Wizer Energy, with 30 years of experience in commercial and industrial electrical work. He has won awards in the commercial wiring arena and went on to study and train as an electrical engineer, preparing a PhD study in the area of Future Smart Microgrids. Since the late 1990s, Martin has had a keen interest in green and renewable energy, now utilised by working in the solar panel industry. After a life-changing injury from a fall at a height in 2007, Martin overcame it with a voltage generator embedded within his body. Being a qualified electrician since the 90’s, an electrical engineer since 2012, and utilising electricity generated within his own body, it’s hard to get more electrically qualified!

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