Are Solar Panels Worth It? The Benefits of Solar Panels

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solar panel benefits

It might seem that solar panels are gaining popularity since Ireland doesn’t seem the obvious place to get them installed. In fact, many areas of Ireland have the perfect conditions for solar panels and can make the investment worthwhile! In our guide, we look into what the solar panel benefits and whether solar panels are worth it in Ireland!

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What Are the Main Solar Panel Benefits?

solar panel with house

Solar panels as a technology have a tremendous amount of benefits in Ireland. Not only are they a great solution to the climate crisis, they can also provide a number of financial and practical benefits to help reduce your carbon footprint and costs at home! Here are some of the main solar panel benefits:

  • Greener Energy
    Solar panels use sunlight to generate electricity rather than burning fossil fuels. Since there’s nothing else involved in producing the energy, solar panels emit no greenhouse gases and because we’ll never run out of sunlight, it is a completely renewable energy source.

  • Cheaper Bills
    Solar energy can also help you make savings on your energy bills. Since you’ll be using the power from the sunlight, you’ll be using less energy from your energy provider making your monthly bills much cheaper. After investing in solar panels, you’ll get your return on your investment in as little as three to four years.

  • Independence from the Grid
    With solar panels, you don’t use the energy from the mainstream grid to power your home. This means you don’t have to worry about power cuts or problems with your grid connection to have energy at home. Especially if you invest in a solar panel battery, you’ll have a full back-up power ready to go whenever you need it.

Do Solar Panels Produce a Lot of Energy in Ireland?

Since solar panels are becoming increasingly popular in Ireland as a way to generate renewable energy. The Irish government has set a target of 80% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2030. This means that solar energy will play an important role in meeting this target. On a sunny day, a typical solar panel system can generate up to 4.5 kWh of electricity per day during the year. This can reach up to around 10-15 kWh in the summer! This is enough to power a typical household for a day. Given that the average home uses 4,200 kWh a year of electricity, a solar panel system can put a dent in your bill!

Which Are the Best Solar Panels in Ireland?

In Ireland, there are several different types of solar panels you can choose from. Each of them have different costs and ways of functioning so come with their own pros and cons:

  1. Photovoltaic Solar Panels
    Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels directly convert sunlight into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. This involves using silicon integrated into solar cells that produce an electrical charge when hit by sunlight. PV solar panels are the only solar panel in Ireland that qualify for a solar panel grant.
  2. Thermodynamic Solar Panels
    Thermodynamic solar panels use a liquid refrigerant with a temperature as low as -22°C to produce hot water by absorbing heat from the air and infrared radiation from the sun. Unlike PV solar panels, they don't directly convert sunlight into electricity.
  3. Solar Thermal Panels
    Solar thermal panels collect heat directly from the sun which functions similarly to how the interior of a dark car becomes warmer than the external temperature after sunlight exposure. The captured heat can be harnessed for different uses for powering your home.

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What Are the Solar Panel Benefits on My Finances?

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Solar panels can help you make significant savings on your electricity bills. This is part of the main attraction for many homeowners who are looking to both help the environment and create a green energy solution for their properties. As mentioned above, most solar panel investments will make you your money back between three to four years, but there are also a lot more ways solar panels benefit your bank account!

How Are Solar Panels Funded in Ireland?

One of the main attractions of getting solar panels installed on your property is having access to a grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). If you’re a homeowner and you want to get solar panels, you can have a significant chunk of the PV solar panel costs reduced for you with the grant.

The SEAI grant starts from €900 and is capped at €2,400 with the amounts varying on how many solar panels you need. Here’s a table showing how much you solar panels would cost after the SEAI:

House Size Rated Capacity kWh per Year Cost After Grant CO2 Saved
2-Bed Terraced 3.28 kW 2,964 kWh €5,423 994 kg
3-Bed Semi-Detached 4.10 kW 3,724 kWh €5,617 1,000 kg
4-Bed Detached 4.92 kW 4,715 kWh €6,011 2,000 kg
6-Bed Detached 6.56 kW 5,915 kWh €6,789 2,000 kg

Source: Purevolt
Last Updated: 19/10/2023

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Have Solar Panels Benefited Ireland’s Carbon Footprint?

wood burner

Despite the Paris Agreement being in place, Ireland hasn’t been the best at hitting its carbon emissions targets. In fact, Ireland was one of the top five countries that increased their carbon emissions the least between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of 20.72%! Given the problem with emissions, solar panels’ green benefits are playing a role in Ireland's climate plan going forward.

Check Out Our Country Carbon Emissions Guide!

How Can Solar Panels Benefit the Environment?

Solar panels benefit the environment most importantly because they don’t use fossil fuels to create electricity. When we burn fossil fuels, the gases emitted get trapped in the atmosphere and stop more sunlight from escaping. This means that more heat is being trapped and gradually making the planet warmer and warmer.

With solar panels (and PV solar panels in particular), energy is created directly from using the sunlight that hits the panels. Just by simply doing this, the electricity that we need to power our homes is generated emitting no greenhouse gases whatsoever. Sunlight is also an infinite resource meaning that we never run out of it, making solar power completely renewable. Also, solar panels don't need much maintenance and have a long lifespan.

The only disadvantage to the environment solar panels might have is the components that go into making them. It has been pointed out that solar panels are quite carbon intensive to make despite their green credentials. However, this carbon intensity is dramatically lower than for other fossil fuels.

How Are Solar Panels Benefiting Ireland’s Climate Plan?

Under Ireland Climate Action Plan 2023, solar panels are already playing a strong part in making sure Ireland reduces its carbon emissions.

In July 2022, University College Cork released a study that showed that at least 25% of Ireland’s electricity needs could be provided by PV solar panels installed on rooftops and achieving at least 8% our renewable energy target. In addition to this, the SEAI grant for solar panels has already helped get them installed in over 24,000 homes in total in Ireland.

Are the Solar Panel Benefits Worth It?

pros cons

All in all, the solar panel benefits definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to investing in our renewable future. Solar panels have also got a great potential to work well in Ireland given our climate and lower risks to how the weather will affect them with more temperate conditions removing the strains on the panels in hotter climates.

Ultimately, it’ll be up to you to decide whether solar panels will be beneficial for you, but for the most part they are an excellent investment and can save you both money and help you do your bit for the environment!

Where Can I Get Solar Panels in Ireland?

Fortunately, there a great number of companies that will provide solar panels along with their installation. Even energy providers such as Electric Ireland and Energia have PV solar panel available for you to install along with microgeneration programmes for you to benefit from! There are also solar panel kits you can get so you can put your own solar panels together. Here's a list of the most common solar panel companies in Ireland:

Company PV? Thermodynamic? Solar thermal?
Electric Ireland Yes No No
Solartricity Yes No No
Solar Electric Yes No No
Alternative Energy Ireland Yes No Yes
NRG Panel Yes Yes No
Green House Renewable Energy Yes No Yes
LVP Renewables Yes Yes No
Thermasol Yes Yes No
PureVolt Solar Yes No No

Check Out Our Full Solar Panel Companies Guide!

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