The future of Ireland’s electricity grid is all about smart meters, helping us to reduce our carbon footprint, optimise our electricity usage, and sell excess energy from our solar panels back to the grid.

Smart meters relay accurate information to you and your electricity provider wirelessly, reducing the need for estimated electricity bills and allowing homeowners to make smarter decisions regarding their energy usage.

They are among the many developing technologies which are helping to drive down the cost of solar panels in Ireland by encouraging greater interest.

ESB Networks installing smart meters to homes across Ireland

What is a Smart Meter?

A smart meter is an electricity meter that accurately measures your electricity consumption in real time, sending readings to your energy provider, reducing the need for estimated bills.

A smart meter can give you specific information about your energy usage, which allows you to track when you are using the most electricity during the day or night, and what is contributing to your overall usage. This gives you more control and added insights which can help you make more conscious decisions over your usage.

In trials where consumers had this detailed information, they reduced their overall energy consumption by up to 3% and peak demand by 8%.

As smart meters are connected to your utility company, you will no longer have to submit readings or have someone visit your house a few times a year to read the meter, making life that little bit simpler.

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Smart Meters and Solar Panels

If you have solar panels, you could essentially benefit twice once your smart meter has been installed.

Homeowners with solar panels and a smart meter can get cheaper electricity after 11pm with a smart plan, and free electricity from their solar energy system during daylight hours.

Smart meter price plans, offer customers different rates for electricity used at different times of the day. Similar to plans offered to those with a day/night meter, smart plans give people the opportunity to use cheaper electricity rates at off-peak times if their routine allows for this.

There are also special plans for electric vehicle (EV) owners, which offer even cheaper rates for a few hours at night.

Smart meters also allow you to sell excess electricity back to the grid, meaning that no energy generated by your solar system goes to waste.

For this to work, you will also need a solar battery as well as a smart meter, which can add €2,000 to the installation costs associated with solar PV panels.

smart meters allow people with a solar PV system to make money by selling energy back to the grid

The Benefits of Smart Meters

Smart meters have a number of other benefits for households, including greater access to more information and detailed insights.

benefits of smart meters

Accurate Energy Readings

This means that estimates will be a thing of the past, with the smart meter accurately calculating the units of electricity you are using at all times, which will be available to you and your energy provider. 

More Info = More Savings

You will be able to see which appliances are using the most energy, allowing you to make changes to your energy usage and make savings if at all possible.

Good for the Environment

Having knowledge about what is using up the most energy may allow you to cut back on certain appliances, helping to reduce our overall energy usage which offsets our carbon footprint.

Sell Electricity Back to the Grid

A smart meter gives people with solar panels access to the government’s microgeneration scheme, which allows you to sell excess energy produced by your solar PV system back to the grid.

Choose When You Use Your Energy

Smart meters allow electricity supply companies to offer new ‘smart’ products and services.

This gives you the ability to change your energy consumption habits, and if it is possible, consume more energy at times when electricity is cheaper with a smart plan, i.e. after 11pm.

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.

Do solar energy users need a smart meter?

Where possible, smart meters are necessary to sell excess electricity generated by your solar panels back to the grid.

During the installation process, your solar installer will submit the required NC6 form to ESB Networks.

This form will inform your energy provider that you have a registered microgeneration device (solar panels) and the ESB will install a smart meter if you don’t already have one.

Smart Meters v Old Electricity Meters

The ESB is now over half-way through its rollout of some 2.4 million smart meters across Ireland, replacing the old electricity meters.

Old Meters

The old electricity meter is very simple. It functions like a mileage clock in a car, essentially estimating how much electricity has been consumed by a household since it was installed.

estimating how much electricity has been consumed by a household since it was installed

Smart Meters

Smart meters, which are an upgraded, modern take on the old meters, will make your life more simple, helping you to monitor your energy consumption in detail, while at the same time protecting the environment. 

smart meters are being installed in homes across Ireland

How to Get a Smart Meter

ESB Networks will install your smart meter, and some 2.4 million will be rolled out to households across Ireland by the end of 2024.

As of April 2024, 1.6 million smart meters have been installed so far across the country.

The roll-out is on an area by area basis, and you will be notified prior to ESB Networks technicians coming to your area.

How much is a smart meter?

Smart meters are free in Ireland, and you will receive yours before the end of 2024 if you haven’t already.

But if you choose to install solar panels in the meantime, your solar provider will provide your energy provider with an NC6 form, and ESB Networks will then install your smart meter.

Online Solar Assessment

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Smart Meter FAQs

Your smart meter will look something like this:

smart meter

You will be offered a smart meter after you install solar panels, but they are technically not essential. 

ESB Networks will notify you before they begin installations in your area, and they will also confirm after your smart meter has been installed.

No, the smart meters themselves are free. But around €5.50 will be added to everyone’s electricity bills over the next 20 years to cover the costs.

Your energy bills will be accurate with a smart meter, and based solely off the electricity that you have consumed rather than an estimate. 

Technicians working for ESB Networks are carrying out the installation of 2.4 million smart meters across Ireland.

In most cases, your smart meter will simply replace your old electricity meter.

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Vetted solar companies:

  • SEAI Authorised
  • SafeElectric Certified
  • Fully Insured
  • 1,000+ Installations
  • Tier-1 Materials
  • Dedicated Customer Care
  • Fully Vetted
  • Competitively Priced
  • Free Site Assessments