The installation of solar PV panels has skyrocketed over the past decade across the world, and many homeowners and businesses in Ireland are wondering if they are worth the investment.

Solar panels in Ireland are absolutely worth it – we get more than enough sunshine every year for Irish homeowners to save hundreds of euros on their annual electricity bills for over 25 years.

And with installation costs falling in recent years, the payback period has been drastically reduced to around 6 years on average.

Irish homeowners wondering if solar panels are worth it should also be aware of the many other benefits beyond reducing electricity bills.

These benefits include property values increasing, selling surplus electricity back to the grid, and solar energy being much more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels.

Why Some People Don’t Think Solar Energy Works in Ireland

Many people think that Ireland is not suited for solar power due to the climate with its lack of consistent sunshine. It is common to think that other renewable energy sources such as wind are a better option.

The high up-front cost of solar panels, and concerns that there is not enough sunshine in Ireland to make solar panels worth it for how much electricity they can generate, can put people off investing in a solar power system.

solar energy in Ireland

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Why Solar Panels are Worth it in Ireland

Solar energy is an excellent investment that can help you save money on a daily basis, while also achieving energy independence.

It is a mistaken belief that solar panels are not suited to the Irish climate, as even during winter or on overcast days they will still generate electricity.

Solar panels can pay themselves off in as little as 6 to 10 years, and will be generating free electricity for at least two decades after that, with enough excess power to sell back to the grid on good days.

Rooftop solar panels are more suited to Irish weather and climate than many people realise, and provide an excellent long term investment

Declining Cost of Solar Panels

The cost of Solar panels in Ireland used to be incredibly expensive, but as with any technology the cost of installing solar PV and solar thermal systems has fallen dramatically as the solar industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. The cost of a solar panel has declined by more than 50% in the past decade, and prices are continuing to fall rapidly as companies invest in solar power.

0% VAT on Solar Panels

On top of a decline in what solar panels cost over time, Ireland recently saw a huge boost to the industry with the abolition of VAT on solar panels in 2023.

The 0% VAT rate for solar systems brought in by the Irish government in may 2023 can bring down the average cost of installing solar panels on your home by as much as €1,000.

Solar Panel Planning Permission

Smaller, but still valuable savings have also come from the fact that Irish homeowners and businesses are no longer required to seek planning permission for rooftop solar panels in the vast majority of instances. Other than in specified Solar Safeguarding Zones located around airports, helipads, and other airstrips, no planning permission is needed for rooftop solar panel installation.

These savings, along with SEAI grant funding, make buying solar panels more affordable than ever before.

Where is the sun coming from in Ireland?

Solar panels work by converting sunlight into power, and for that reason is necessary to known where the sun is coming from in Ireland to take the best advantage of it.

Yearly Sunshine

Ireland typically receives between 1,100 and 1,600 hours of sunshine each year according to data from Met Éireann, with May and June as the sunniest months. During this time the country receives an average of 5 to 6.5 hours of sunshine each day.

Sunniest Regions

The south and south east regions of Ireland are the sunniest parts of the country, receiving up to 7 hours of direct sunshine during the summer months, with the least direct sunlight in the northwest region.

Ireland typically receives between 1,100 and 1,600 hours of sunshine each year

Solar Panel Orientation

The angle of a rooftop and and how solar panel systems are arrayed on it has an impact on their electricity production.

An East-West facing panels will produce more energy in the morning and evening, while a South facing solar panel array will tend to have a higher output overall. Consider what time of day you have the highest demand for electricity when installing solar panels.

7 Years

A typical solar installation is fully paid back within 7 years. All solar panels we recommend are under warranty for 25 years, so you will enjoy at least 17 years of free energy generation.

0% VAT

As of 10 May 2023, the government has removed all VAT on solar installation and solar panel supply. This means solar has never been more affordable!

Government Grants

There is a range of government grants available for all new solar installations. Our team will guide you through the application process.

Solar Panel Temperature v Efficiency

As solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity, it is understandable that you might think that hotter days are better. After all, hot days are typically associated with more sunlight.

However, a solar system is designed to work best within a certain temperature range, and solar panel efficiency will actually drop after it exceeds 25°C, which is the temperature of the Standard Test Conditions which solar panels are tested under.

This is the internal temperature of the solar cell within the module, not the air temperature. In fact the solar cell temperature is typically anywhere from 20°C – 30°C above the ambient air temperature.

Ireland, with its colder climate, can actually see solar panels operating with greater efficiency than hot countries such as Spain or Italy.

How Much Can You Save on Energy With Solar Panels in Ireland?

By installing solar panels on your property you can potentially save more than 50% on your electricity bills with just the panels alone, but that can also be bumped up with additional investment.

Adding a solar battery will further increase the amount of electricity a solar system can create for your home depending on your usage patterns. This is another factors create more incentive than ever to install solar panels on your home.

*Electricity Prices Based on Electric Ireland Standard Unit Price of 35.83c.
**Energy Production based on south-facing roof.

Solar PV Panels or Solar Thermal

There are two main types of solar panels, photovoltaic, better known as solar PV, or solar thermal.

Both solar PV panels and solar thermal have the potential to deliver significant savings, but a solar PV system is increasingly the better choice for a multitude of reasons.

Solar heat collectors can only be used to heat water for use in your home, but generating electricity through Solar PV can be used for many functions, including water by installing a power diverter to send excess energy to the immersion.

Solar PV Panels or Solar Thermal

Cutting Your Energy Bills

The primary purpose of having rooftop solar panels installed is to reduce your energy bills, both for hot water and your business or household electricity bill.

Having just 20 sqm of solar panels installed on your rooftop can produce 2,600 kWh of electricity each year, more than 50% of a household’s annual average consumption.

The average household electricity usage in Ireland 4,200kWh according to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities but not all homes are average and detached homes will use far more than this.

Installing a power diverter for hot water, and battery storage system can potentially bring that up to as much as 70% of your annual electricity needs, though that will require additional investment.

As energy prices have gone through the roof in Ireland in the past two years, using rooftop solar to produce energy can help future proof against further cost increases in the years ahead.

Solar power can also make a huge impact on heating bills, as the vast majority of newly built homes favour electricity for heating ahead of oil and gas. CSO figures show that 89% of new builds between 2020 and 2023 use electricity for their main space heating. Just 11% made use of gas for heating and oil doesn’t factor at all anymore.

Electric Vehicle Charging

A solar system can be used not only to provide electricity for your home but also to help charge an electric car. Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and affordable, and need to be charged from a reliable electricity supply.

Charging straight from the grid is already cheaper than fossil fuels, but setting up your solar system to charge the car is free energy in the tank. Many popular solar monitoring systems have interfaces which allow you to control how electrical energy is distributed.

How much does it cost to have solar panels installed in Ireland?

The average cost of solar panel installation in Ireland is between €4,000 – €16,000 after taking into account SEAI grants, with the exact price dependent on multiple factors.

The cost to install solar panels in Ireland depends on the size of the roof of your businesses or home, and how many solar panels you wish to have.

Other elements such as a Solar Battery can add €2,500 or more to the cost of a solar PV system. Additions such as this or a power diverter will also necessitate investing in a more expensive hybrid power inverter to allow the electricity to be split.

Online Solar Assessment

Speak with a member of our team and determine the type of solar that best suits your situation

  • Fill in the solar assessment

  • A solar expert will call you with 24 hours and ask any questions they have

  • We will email across accurate quotes, detailing the timeframe, costs, available grants and next steps

Grants for Solar Panels

While you might be put off by how much solar panels cost up front to install on your home, fortunately the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland offers grants to help make the change easier.

There are grants of up to €2,100 available to install solar PV panels on your home or business. The size of the grant depends on the scale of the solar PV system being installed.

In addition, an SEAI grant of €1,200 is also available for installing solar thermal panels.

Other grants and financial supports are available to help farms, businesses and others make the shift to renewable energy.

Solar Panels for a 3 Bedroom Semi-detached House

Solar Panels as an Investment

Solar panels are worth it in Ireland not only for their ability to cut down energy bills, but also as an excellent long term investment that can increase property values, and generate income once you have broken even on their cost.

With solar PV all of the cost is upfront, but it continues to pay dividends long after you have recouped the cost.

Pros Cons
Grants can offset some of the cost High upfront cost of installation
Improves value of property Dependent on weather and sunlight
Reduces electricity bills Batteries/Inverters may need replacing in lifespan of solar system

Selling Surplus Electricity

Since July of 2022 Irish homeowners, businesses and more have been able to sell any extra electricity generated by their solar panels back to the grid through the Micro-generation Support Scheme.

The amount that is paid for excess power is set by the utility company which is purchasing, and they each have their own rates for what you supply back to the grid.

  • Pinergy: 25c per kWh
  • SSE Airtricity: 24c per kWh
  • Flogas: 18.5c per kWh

  • Electric Ireland: 21c per kWh
  • Bord Gais: 18.5c per kWh
  • Energia: 24c per kWh

You can only sell your surplus electricity back to the same utility company you are buying it from, so how much excess solar energy you produce versus how much electricity you use has to be taken into consideration.

Selling surplus energy back to the grid will also help to pay back the initial installation cost even faster, and once that has been paid off, not only are you getting free electricity, but also easy money from what you sell back.

As of 2024 the government has increased the amount of money which can be earned tax-free from selling surplus electricity to €400 a year. This is up from €200 when the scheme was first introduced in 2022.

Note: A smart meter must be installed on your home in order to get an accurate reading of how much electricity is being exported. Otherwise the energy provider will provide an estimate.

Improving your Property Value

Adding solar panels to your home won’t just help with your electricity bills, but is also an ideal way to increase the value of your property.

Your home’s BER, Building Energy Rating, is an increasingly important factor in the value of a property if you’re looking to sell.

The BER scale rates homes from A to G in terms of their energy efficiency. This is determined by multiple factors such as your insulation, and home heating, and also having green renewable energy such as solar panels.

Improving your property’s BER can yield significant increases in its list price.

Having solar panels on your home can not only cut down your electricity bill, but result in a significant improvement in the value of your property if you choose to sell

Reducing your Carbon Footprint

On top of saving you money, or adding to property values, installing solar panels on your home or business is a good way for to reduce your carbon footprint, and help end reliance on fossil fuels.

Waiting for large scale wind or solar developments to wean Ireland off coal or gas could take years, while having home solar installed is something that can reduce emissions now.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found in 2014 that rooftop solar power generates 41 grams of CO2 equivalent per kWh of electricity generated across its entire lifecycle.

All of that comes from the construction, transport, and installation process, with zero emissions once the solar panels are up and running.

Once you have a solar panel system installed, it can offset huge amounts of CO2 which would otherwise have been emitted by gas or oil heating, or by replacing the use of electricity from the grid derived from fossil fuels.

Having any solar system installed on your home, even one on the smaller size, can offset 1,000kg of CO2 emissions each year or more.

Find Out How Much You Can Save with Solar Panels

If you’re asking yourself are solar panels worth it in Ireland then check today to see how much you could save.

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