With conventional electricity prices still at a high point, and with an increasingly environmentally conscious public, people and businesses are more and more looking for ways to invest in renewable energy.

There are multiple options for clean renewable energy sources, but the two most commonly used in Ireland are wind and solar energy. These come with different strengths and weaknesses based on a multitude of technological and environmental factors.

renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydro

Solar Panels in Ireland

Solar power is a still small but growing portion of the renewable energy sector in Ireland, with great potential for both commercial solar farms and smaller scale installations in both homes and businesses.

Solar PV installations on residential and commercial premises are a focus for the government to hit our climate and energy goals in the coming years.


Benefits of Solar Energy

There are multiple benefits from having solar PV panels installed on your property, both from financial and environmental perspectives:

  • Reduce your energy bills
  • Government grant supports
  • Improve property value
  • Selling back to the grid

Reduce Your Energy Bills

Having solar panels installed on your home, farm or business can instantly start cutting your electricity and heating bills by a significant amount.

Government Grant Support

For those concerned with the significant upfront costs which can be associated with having solar panels installed, there are multiple avenues of solar grant funding available to help reduce that burden.

Save up to €2,400 with the SEAI grant for solar panels.

Improve Property Values

Your property’s Better Energy Rating (BER) is becoming an increasingly important factor in its resale value. Homes and commercial buildings which are less energy efficient are harder to sell and command lower prices. Having solar panels in situ will work well to bump up your BER.

Selling Energy Back to the Grid

There can be plenty of times when your solar PV system is generating more electricity than is currently being used in your house. 

When that happens it will either be stored in a battery, or dumped back into the grid. Homeowners can be paid by their energy company for that excess electricity back to the grid.

Are Solar Panels Effective in Ireland

Many people in Ireland might have concerns about whether or not the climate in Ireland is suited to solar energy. Is there enough sunlight for solar PV to generate enough electricity to make it worth having solar panels installed with the upfront cost?

Ireland receives more than enough sunshine, between 11,000 and 16,000 of sunlight per year, with the highest levels of average daily sunshine in May and June. With this, solar panels typically have a payback period of 6 – 10 years after saving money on electricity bills. 

With a guaranteed lifespan of 25 – 30 years, this leaves you with at least another two decades of completely free electricity after the cost has been paid off.

The south of Ireland receives the most sunlight in the country, and having solar panels orientated to the south is best for generating the most electricity overall.

How Much do Solar Panels Cost to Install

The price of solar panels is falling all the time with the incredible surge or money being poured into the sector in recent years. That doesn’t even take into account the wide array of government subsidies which aim to encourage people to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

How much a solar PV system will cost for your specific home, farm, or business will depend on a number of factors. These include the size of the solar PV system being installed, how many panels you need; whether or not you include other elements such as a battery storage system; the quality of the component you select; and what grant supports you avail of.

The average cost of solar PV systems in Ireland is between €4,000 and €16,000 after taking into consideration SEAI grant support, 0% VAT and other savings.

how much you can save with solar energy

How Much Energy Can You Save With Solar Panels

Having solar panels alone installed on your home can save you as much as 40-50% of your yearly electricity bill, with more savings possible if you tie your solar system to the immersion, reducing your hot water bills.

Solar panels can help save 70% or more of your electricity bills if you have a battery system installed to take advantage of their peak output.

For those who don’t want the additional cost of buying a battery, selling excess electricity back to the grid can offset the cost of what you do have to buy at times of lower output from your solar panels.

Wind Turbines in Ireland

When people think of wind energy in Ireland they likely think of massive wind farms, with dozens of turbines hundreds of feet high. This certainly is most common, with wind farms now generating more than a third of Ireland’s overall electricity, and the lion’s share of our renewable energy.

However, there are smaller wind turbines available for domestic use for those seeking to generate clean, renewable electricity. Small scale wind turbines tend to range anywhere from 400W to 10kW in power output.

renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydro

Benefits of Wind Energy in Ireland

Reduce Your Energy Bills 

Having a wind turbine installed at your property will decrease the size of your electricity bill by generating free renewable electricity.

Work Day and Night 

A wind turbine is not limited by the time of the day, and is fully capable of generating electricity at night to be stored for later use during the day.

Clean Energy 

Generating clean electricity through the use of a wind turbine will help to reduce your carbon footprint.

Are Wind Turbines Effective in Ireland

Wind turbines are well able to produce electricity in Ireland, but that will be highly dependent on your location. If you live in a coastal region, with an elevated location to place a turbine, you’re golden.

However, they would be far less efficient in an area where you are hemmed in by other buildings, or other features which block the wind.

How Much do Wind Turbines Cost

The cost of buying and installing a wind turbine for your property varies greatly depending on the size of the system in question. Larger wind turbines will not only have a higher cost, but will also be more complicated in their installation. If installing an off-grid system you will also require a battery bank.

On average, a wind turbine might cost as little as €400 for a small 400W turbine, up to as much as €20,000 – €25,000 for a larger 10kW system.

How Much Can You Save With Wind Turbines

How much energy a wind turbine can produce for your home or business, and how much it will save you on your energy bills, is dependent on the size of the installation and the prevailing weather conditions where you are.

In the right conditions an 800W wind turbine might be able to produce 40kWh of energy per month. However this will depend on the strength and consistency of the wind where you are located.

Wind Turbines or Solar Energy

The two systems have different strengths and weaknesses. Ireland certainly has a greater abundance of wind than sunshine

One of the biggest barriers to people having their home or business fitted with renewable energy generating systems is the high upfront cost. And in this area solar PV comes out well ahead for a number of reasons.

There are a wide range of government support and subsidies available for the installation of solar panels. SEAI grants for homes and businesses, the TAMS3 scheme for farm installations. That’s not taking into account the 0% VAT rate for domestic solar PV systems. In contrast, there are currently no grant subsidies available for domestic wind turbines.

Positioning is also a factor. While small domestic wind turbines in the 400W range can be attached to a roof or chimney, if you want anything larger it’s likely going to have to go on the ground. 

Then it will need to be positioned in a clear elevated location, away from any obstructions, such as your house. This means additional work wiring it into your home electrical grid. In contrast, the majority of small scale solar PV systems tend to be installed on the roofs of houses or businesses, with ground mounted arrays generally reserved for larger solar farms. Roof mounted systems are simple to wire up to your property.

Wind turbines, with their multiple moving parts, are also a higher maintenance option than solar PV, and will run up additional costs ensuring that they operate at maximum efficiency.

Overall, while wind energy is not pointless, for small scale production solar PV is more dependable and cheaper for homeowners and businesses in the majority of instances.

Wind Turbines or Solar Energy

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