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27 Nov 2023
Is it worth getting solar panels in Ireland?
Anna Dearden
Home sector specialist
blogPost

As the world looks for new ways to be sustainable, the adoption of renewable energy sources has gained momentum worldwide. Solar panels have become a popular choice for homeowners and businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills. 


Solar panels can sometimes be considered an eyesore, and they require sunlight to work properly.  With its lush green landscapes and overcast skies, Ireland might not seem like the ideal location for solar panels at first glance. However, you might be surprised at the results you can get from installing solar panels in Ireland.


Let’s explore whether or not it’s worth getting solar panels in Ireland and how much you can expect to pay for your investment. 


A brief overview of solar panels in Ireland


Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. They are made up of multiple solar cells that generate direct current (DC) electricity when exposed to sunlight. In Ireland, the solar energy potential is somewhat limited compared to sunnier regions, but it is not insignificant. 


While the amount of sunlight received in Ireland is lower than in countries with more favourable climates, solar panels can still generate electricity, and their installation has several potential advantages.


The benefits of solar panels in Ireland


In addition to helping the environment, there are many advantages to investing in solar panels for your property. 


Reduced energy bills


One of the primary benefits of installing solar panels in Ireland is the potential for significant savings on energy bills. While Ireland may not receive as much sunlight as some other countries, solar panels can still generate electricity on cloudy days. This electricity can be used to power your home, reducing your reliance on grid electricity and lowering your energy bills.


Environmental impact


Solar panels are a clean and renewable source of energy. By generating electricity from sunlight, they reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help combat climate change. For environmentally-conscious homeowners, solar panels offer a way to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.


Energy independence


Solar panels provide a degree of energy independence. By generating your electricity, you become less dependent on external energy sources and are better prepared for power outages or disruptions in the grid. This can be especially valuable during extreme weather events or emergencies.


Increased property value


Installing solar panels can increase the value of your property. Many homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home with solar panels, as it represents an energy-efficient and cost-saving feature.


Long-term investment


Solar panels are a long-term investment. While the initial cost may seem significant, they can pay for themselves over time through energy savings and potential income from surplus electricity sold back to the grid.


Do solar panels work in the rain? 


There’s no denying that Ireland gets its fair share of rain. But don’t worry — this doesn’t mean solar panels are a no-go for Irish homeowners.


Solar panels can still generate electricity when it's raining — although it’s worth noting that their efficiency is reduced. Raindrops can scatter and block some sunlight from reaching the solar cells, which temporarily decreases their output. However, modern solar panels are designed to be efficient in various weather conditions, including cloudy and rainy days. While their performance may be lower during rain, they can still produce some electricity. 


In addition, rain can help clean dust and dirt from the panels, which can improve their performance once the rain stops.


Do you need planning permission to install solar panels in Ireland?


In general, small-scale solar panel installations on residential properties typically do not require planning permission if they meet specific criteria regarding size, orientation, and placement. Larger installations or those on non-residential properties may require planning permission and may need to undergo a more comprehensive approval process.


To ensure compliance with current regulations and to determine whether you need planning permission for your specific solar panel installation in Ireland, it's advisable to consult with your local planning authority or a solar energy professional who can guide you through the process and provide the latest information regarding planning requirements.


How much do solar panels in Ireland cost?


One of the primary concerns for anyone considering solar panels is the cost. The cost of solar panels in Ireland can vary depending on several factors, including the type and quality of the panels, installation fees, and the size of the system. 


On average, a typical 4 kW solar panel system in Ireland varies in cost from €6,000 and €18,000, but it’s important to remember that the cost of solar panels in Ireland varies depending on several factors. This includes the choice of the solar system suitable for your home hinges on your household's electricity requirements, the number of occupants, their hot water usage, the size of your roof, and its orientation.

 

Installing solar panel systems can be expensive up front, but it's important to note that the cost of solar panels has been steadily decreasing over the years. This is thanks to advancements in technology and increased competition among solar panel manufacturers. In addition, the return on investment (ROI) for solar panels in Ireland has improved as energy prices have risen.


Can you get a grant for solar panels in Ireland?


To encourage the adoption of solar panels and other renewable energy sources, the Irish government offers The Solar Electricity Grant to homeowners and businesses. This grant or incentive aims to offset the initial cost of solar panel installation and make it more financially attractive. 


To qualify for the grant, you need to meet certain requirements. Firstly, your home should have been built and lived in before 2021, and if your home has been under construction, you have to use new materials and products that haven't received grants before. 


Under this scheme, you could receive a grant of up to €1,800 per kW of installed solar PV capacity, subject to certain conditions. This grant effectively reduced the upfront cost of solar panels, making them a more viable option for many households. It's essential to check the most recent updates and eligibility criteria for these grants, as government programs and incentives may change over time.


What return on investment can you expect from solar panels in Ireland?


On average, homeowners in Ireland can expect a reasonable ROI over the long term. Solar panels typically pay for themselves through reduced electricity bills and potential income from excess energy exported to the grid. The exact ROI timeline may vary, but many homeowners see a return on their investment within six to 12 years.


Solar panels can also add value to your property and reduce your carbon footprint, making them an environmentally and economically appealing investment for those looking to harness renewable energy.


Factors to consider


While there are undoubtedly many benefits to installing solar panels in Ireland, it's essential to consider a few factors before making a decision.


Location


The effectiveness of solar panels depends on your location in Ireland. Areas with more sunlight will generate more electricity, so it's crucial to assess your specific location's solar potential.


System size


The size of your solar panel system will affect its cost and energy generation capacity. Consider your energy needs and budget when determining the appropriate system size for your property.


Maintenance


Solar panels require minimal maintenance but may need occasional cleaning and inspection to ensure optimal performance. Factor in maintenance costs when budgeting for solar panels.


Return on investment (ROI)


Calculate the ROI for your solar panel installation to understand how long it will take to recoup your initial investment through energy savings and potential income from surplus electricity sales.


Compare solar panel prices in Ireland with SpotDif


So, what’s the bottom line — is it worth installing solar panels in Ireland? While there are many factors to consider, for many property owners across Ireland, solar panels can indeed be a  worthwhile investment. Not only good for the environment, but they can also add value to your home and save you money on energy bills in the long run.


Wondering where to start to get the best deal on your solar panel installation? At SpotDif, we compare hundreds of solar panel providers across Ireland, so that you know you’re getting the best deal for you. Use our price comparison tool to get started, or get in touch with us today. 

author
Anna Dearden
Home sector specialist
I'm driven by curiosity, and constantly seeking to unravel and explore the ever-evolving trends in the realms of lifestyle, finance, and well-being.
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