The rising cost of living is forcing us all to rethink how we heat and power our homes. Electricity prices are soaring, with an average bill for a 3-bedroom house costing Irish homeowners €2,023 annually. Energy inflation may have slowed recently, but costs are still going up.
There’s never been a more sensible time to say goodbye to fossil fuels and embrace solar panel technology. Government grants for solar panels are more accessible than ever, with homeowners and businesses alike able to benefit. As of 2022, more than 50,000 PV installations had been carried out across the country.
Despite the growing need and rising enthusiasm for renewable energy, it’s surprising that so many people are still reluctant to make the switch to solar. Myths surrounding solar power are often to blame. Below, we’ll separate fact from fiction.
11 Myths About Solar Panels
1. They’re Too Expensive
If you’ve put off the idea of investing in solar panels in Ireland, you’ve probably deemed the technology too expensive. However, far from being out of the price range of most people, solar panel systems are more affordable than ever before.
Not only are solar panels cheaper to produce than they once were, but there’s also plenty of assistance out there. The SEAI’s Solar Electricity Grant offers support at a value of €900 per kWp. This means that you can shave €2,160 off the price of a 3.2 kW system with 8 panels.
The savings you’ll make to annual energy bills can be considerable. Larger systems can yield electricity savings of up to €1900 annually, meaning the payback period of solar panels can be as little as 5 or less years. So, are solar panels worth it in Ireland? 100%, especially if you’re looking to tighten your belts and safeguard yourself against future energy cost rises!
2. Solar Panels Won’t Work on Cloudy Days
Do solar panels work when it’s cloudy? Here’s another common misconception about solar panels. Some people assume that if there’s no direct sunlight, solar panels won’t produce any electricity. While panels are at their most efficient on bright, sunny days, they can still deliver good results on overcast days.
No matter whether rain clouds are forming or snow is settling in, solar panel systems will continue to generate electricity while it’s daylight outside. Even in adverse conditions, solar panels can easily generate up to 25% of their maximum power output.
3. They Have a Short Lifespan
They might look fairly discreet once installed, but solar panels are surprisingly hard-wearing. As well as being durable and weatherproof, properly maintained solar panels and inverters pose no fire risk.
Solar panel warranty periods vary between manufacturers, but most panels come with a 10-year warranty as standard. Furthermore, 25-year performance warranties are commonplace. This means that panels are designed to remain at least 80% efficient, regardless of how old they get. Thanks to advancements in solar panel technology, the lifespans of these systems are getting longer. How long do solar panels last? PV systems can continue to work for well over 25 years.
4. Solar Panels Need Regular Maintenance
Perhaps it’s because solar panels are still considered a fairly new technology, but many people assume that PV systems demand constant maintenance. In reality, the complete opposite is true. Understanding how to clean solar panels and performing occasional light maintenance is all that’s needed to keep your system performing efficiently.
As solar panels don’t have any mechanical parts, there’s very little that can go wrong. The only element that will need occasional attention is the inverter. Once installed, arranging an annual inspection and service of your panels is a good idea.
5. They Can Bring Down Property Value
This is a common complaint we hear from people resisting the idea of renewable energy. Rather than putting a dent in the value of your property, solar panels can enhance it. According to some estimates, homeowners who’ve invested in solar panels can expect to add around 4% to the value of their property. As people look for ways to save on rising energy costs, expect this solar panel premium to get even bigger in the coming years.
Interested in solar panels in Dublin, but worried about the aesthetic impact of a PV system? Modern-day solar panels are surprisingly low-profile, making them a good fit for all styles of buildings.
6. Solar Panels Consume More Electricity Than They Generate
This is an argument often used by people who’ve never asked the question, ‘How do solar panels work?’. The only carbon footprint produced by solar panels comes during the manufacturing stage. However, the environmental impact of producing a solar panel is minimal.
Once installed and operational, they instantly reduce the demand for gas and electricity generated by the burning of fossil fuels. It’s for this very reason that Ireland is investing in renewable energy projects. The Irish Government is extending PV grants for businesses while sticking firmly to the plan of generating 80% of domestic electricity from renewable sources by 2023.
7. They Can’t Be Recycled
While it’s true that older solar panels were difficult to recycle and safely dispose of, this is no longer the case. Most are made from silicon crystalline, which carries a significant material value. With more manufacturers eager to reclaim these valuable materials, specialised recycling centres are becoming increasingly common.
Once your solar panels have reached their operational life, they can be handed over for safe disposal. At a recycling facility, any traces of toxic elements are removed, before other materials are recycled.
8. Solar Panels Can’t Cope with Temperature Extreme
If you’re considering solar panels in Limerick, soaring temperatures aren’t a concern. However, you may be wondering how well your PV system will cope with freezing conditions in the middle of winter.
It’s important to remember that solar panels rely on sunlight to generate electricity. No matter how cold it is outside, solar panels will continue to function during daylight hours. Extremely high temperatures can affect the efficiency of solar panels, but this isn’t something to worry about if you’re looking for solar panels in Waterford or elsewhere in Ireland. Cooler temperatures can make your system more efficient.
9. They’re Not a Reliable Source of Energy
This common complaint is understandable. After all, what do you do at night if your solar panels have only been producing at 25% during an extremely cloudy day? Unless you’re completely self-sustainable, you’ll likely still have access to the main electricity grid. Even if you have to occasionally depend on mains power, your overall energy consumption and bills will be lower.
Furthermore, you can expand your PV system with solar battery storage. If you haven’t sold your surplus back to the grid, you can use stored energy to power your everyday appliances until the sun rises once again and your panels start generating electricity.
10. Solar Panels Do Little To Curb Carbon Emissions
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, investing in solar panel technology is one of the best things you can do. After manufacturing, a PV system produces no carbon emissions whatsoever. In ideal conditions, a 4 KWp PV system with 10 panels can go a long way in delivering your annual electricity needs. What’s more, it prevents two tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year.
11. They Only Work On Buildings
Solar panels are versatile energy solutions that extend beyond buildings. Camper vans harness solar power, offering mobile energy for appliances and lighting, enabling sustainable off-grid adventures. Portable solar panels power lights and small devices, enhancing outdoor experiences and emergency preparedness. Additionally, solar technology integrates into everyday products like phone chargers, backpacks, and outdoor gear, reducing reliance on traditional power sources
Is It Time to Switch to Solar?
If you’ve been entertaining the idea of solar panels in Cork, don’t let the usual myths and misconceptions put you off. As well as being cost-effective and incredibly reliable, solar panels are a low-maintenance renewable energy solution. Relaxed planning permissions mean even smaller homes can benefit from expansive arrays. With more people looking for ways to live sustainably, solar panels can also add to the value of your home, rather than hurt it.
Thinking about safeguarding yourself against rising bills? Speak to the team at Wizer Energy today. Our team has carried out more than 4,000 domestic PV installations since 2015. Thinking about a Zappi charger in Ireland? We can also help with EV chargers so you’re ready to go all-electric. Call us on 087 7530066 or get an online quote today.