What Are the Solar Panel Costs and Returns in Ireland?

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Solar panels are all the rage right now. Especially with the energy crisis making our electricity bills more expensive than ever, people in Ireland are looking for an alternative to help them in generating cheaper energy. In our solar panel cost guide, we’ll break down the costs of installing solar panels in your property!

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In Ireland?

If one fact is certain, solar panels are very expensive items, and in fact they’re getting more expensive due to rising wholesale costs and rising cost of electricity. Here’s a quick table to show you make facts of getting a solar panel for different size houses:

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

Read on to find out more about how solar panel costs are broken down in our comprehensive guide!

solar panel

Why Are Solar Panels So Expensive?

Solar panels are costly enough on their own without inflation getting involved. Taking into account their manufacturing costs, their installation costs, as well as the maintenance, the amount you have to pay for having your own solar panels providing you with cheap, renewable electricity can be quite daunting. Here are some of the factors that might influence the cost your solar panels in Ireland:

  1. Type of Solar Panel
    There are many different types of solar panels you could get installed and each one has its cost. The different types of solar panels will have different ways of producing electricity than others and this can invariably affect the cost.
  2. Property Size
    You might need more solar panels if you have a larger house. This will mean you’ll need to pay more for your solar panel installation since you’ll want to have the generation necessary for powering your entire property.
  3. Batteries
    You might also want to invest in getting a battery to store the electricity generated from solar power to use later. These can also vary depending on capacity and the quality.
  4. Installation Costs
    Installing the solar panels on your property is one thing but having it done well is another. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve had the best quality installation so you don’t have problems further down the line and this can be quite
  5. Quality
    Naturally, the quality of your solar panels are also going to make a difference to your budget. If you spend more on getting higher quality solar panels, you won't have to worry too much about their maintenance.

What Different Solar Panels Are There in Ireland?

solar panels

There are three types of solar panels that are available in Ireland. Here’s a brief overview of why they are different and how they work. It’s always worth looking into the different solar panel types to find out which one is best for you.

  1. Photovoltaic Solar Panels
    Photovoltaic solar panels (PV) utilise the photovoltaic effect to convert sunlight into electricity. These produce electricity via solar cells, although this electricity can also be diverted to heat hot water cylinders.
  2. Thermodynamic Solar Panels
    Thermodynamic solar panels produce hot water instead of directly converting sunlight to electricity. With thermodynamic solar panels, an extremely cold (-22°C) liquid refrigerant is circulated through the panel. This liquid absorbs ambient heat from the air outside the panel and from the infrared rays emitted by the sun.
  3. Solar Thermal Panels
    Solar thermal panels directly collect heat from the sun, working on the principle that black surfaces attract heat. Somewhat similar to a dark car, where the heat inside the car can far surpass the temperature outside upon significant exposure to sunlight.

Read More in Our Solar Panels Guide!

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How Many Solar Panels Would It Take To Power a House?

house with solar panels

The amount of solar panels you might need will of course depend on your property’s size and how you might want to use your solar energy. Some people might just prefer to have enough solar panels to put a dent into their energy bills and are on a budget. However if you want to use solar panels as your main energy source, it’ll cost you a bit extra.

How Are Solar Panels Measured?

The quantity of photovoltaic solar panels you need is measured in different ways to what you might expect. Instead of counting the number of solar panels you get installed, you order the capacity of the panels that you require for your property. The capacity is measured in kilowatts (kW) known as its rated capacity. You can then calculate how much electricity you’ll be expecting to get after installation.

Example of Solar Panel Capacity Say for example if we have a solar panel with a capacity rating of 1kW. This means that for every square metre of sun, the solar panel will generate 1000 watts. You’ll then have to work out the efficiency of the solar panel along with the amount of sun you receive to work out how much energy your solar produces in kilowatt hours (kWh):

1 solar panel of 2 squared x 1,000 watts = 2,000 watts

Then say you have a solar panel of 20% efficiency:

20% efficiency of 2,000 watts = 400 watts

Then say you get 3.5 hours of sun each day:

400 x 3.5 hours of sun = 1,400 watts

Then to work how much energy your solar panel generates a day:

1,400 watts ÷ 1,000 = 1.4 kWh generated a day

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for My House?

So as you can see, the number of solar panels needed for a home can vary a lot depending on the capacity you need and how big your home is. For example, a 2-bed terrace would need a lot less than a 6-bed terrace for example. Here’s a table that shows you the different rated capacities for each house size:

House Size

Rated Capacity

kWh per Year

2-Bed Terraced

3.28 kW

2,856 kWh

3-Bed Semi-Detached

4.10 kW

3,573 kWh

4-Bed Detached

4.92 kW

4,323 kWh

6-Bed Detached

6.56 kW

5,710 kWh

Source: Purevolt
Last Updated: 22/06/2023

Read More in Our Solar Panels Grants Guide!

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost To Install?

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The cost of installing a solar panel is getting more expensive but it’s been made a lot easier given the Irish government’s Paris agreement commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, and natural gas from fracking), as well as the funding that is now available. The cost does vary from type to type but for the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on the most common solar panel to be installed in Ireland: the photovoltaic solar panel. If you invest instead in getting a solar panel kit, you can save immensely on up front costs but you won't qualify for the SEAI grant.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Solar panels can cost anywhere from between €5,000 to €16,000 to install. This makes them one of the cheaper renewable energy solutions for your home, less expensive than an electric car or a hybrid car. This pricing is generally based on the rate capacity offered by the solar panels so the higher capacity you need, the more expensive your solar panels will be. Here’s a graph to show you how the prices increase with more capacity:

Source: Energyd
Last Updated: 22/06/2023

How much does a solar panel battery cost? A battery is usually an added cost on top of the cost of solar panels. Depending on the capacity, you might be looking at paying an extra €1,500 to €4,000 on top of what you pay for the installation. However, if you get a battery, you can also get paid for exporting any excess energy your solar panels generate!

Can I Get a Grant for Solar Panels?

Fortunately, you can get a grant to help bring down the price of a solar panel for your property. The SEAI grants scheme offers significant funding to make the cost of the solar panels more affordable. However, the grant only applies to photovoltaic solar panels so if you want to install a different type you’ll have to pay for it yourself.

Here’s a breakdown of how much a solar panel might cost you with the SEAI grant:

House Size

Rated Capacity

Cost After Grant

2-Bed Terraced

3.40 kWp

€5,269

3-Bed Semi-Detached

4.25 kWp

€5,880

4-Bed Detached

5.10 kWp

€6,567

6-Bed Detached

6.80 kWp

€7,969

Source: Purevolt
Last Updated: 22/06/2023

How Much Would I Save With Solar Panels?

Of course, the main purpose of getting solar panels would be to help the environment while making your energy bills cheaper at the same time. There’s a lot of debate as to whether solar panels are worth it, but ultimately to decide, you should consider two important factors:

  1. CO2 Emissions Reduced
    The amount of CO2 emissions you reduce is the difference between how much you would have produced without a solar panel in your house. It also includes the equivalence of how many trees were planted. With solar panels, you can also reduce the government’s carbon tax.
  2. Return on investment
    The return on investment is measured by the length of time it takes for your solar panel to have paid for itself. This is essentially how much you have saved on your electricity bill by having a solar panel installed.
  3. Help with Cost of Living
    You can also help with the cost of living immensely with solar panels shaving off part of your energy bill. Though a hefty upfront cost, you're monthly outgoings will become a lot lower if you're using solar panels.

How Much Does My Carbon Footprint Reduce With Solar Panels?

Measuring how much your carbon footprint will have decreased isn’t an exact science, but you can see how much you can help the planet by having solar panels installed. Here are your expected carbon savings after having solar panels installed:

House Size

Rated Capacity

CO2 Saved

Flights Dublin-New York

2-Bed Terraced

3.40 kWp

1,023 kg

1.2

3-Bed Semi-Detached

4.25 kWp

1,285 kg

1.5

4-Bed Detached

5.10 kWp

1,627 kg

2

6-Bed Detached

6.80 kWp

2,041 kg

2.5

Source: Purevolt
Last Updated: 19/10/2023

As you can see, you can already make a big dent in your carbon footprint from just a 3.28kW capacity rate solar panel.

When Will I Earn My Solar Panel Investment Back?

As with any investment, it takes time to earn the money back and it can be frustrating having to wait to see the real savings from having the panels installed. On average, whatever size solar panels, it will take around 3 to 4 years for your investment to pay off - which is certainly a lot quicker than installing your own wind farm! However, the more solar panels you invest in, the larger your return will be:

House Size

Rated Capacity

Return on Investment

Time

2-Bed Terraced

3.40 kWp

12.4%

5 years 11 months

3-Bed Semi-Detached

4.25 kWp

14.4%

5 years 2 months

4-Bed Detached

5.10 kWp

15.7%

4 years 9 months

6-Bed Detached

6.80 kWp

17.3%

4 years 4 months

Source: Purevolt
Last Updated: 22/06/2023

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Are Solar Panels Worth It in 2023 in Ireland?

woman thinking

So are solar panels worth the cost in Ireland? There are a lot of pros and cons surrounding solar panels. On one side, they’re the ideal investment for today since we’re all moving towards renewable energy sources and need to keep the green transition going. They're also a great choice and alternative to getting an electric vehicle for instance. However, there are some drawbacks too. Here are some of those pros and cons:

Pros

  • Cheaper electricity bills
  • Grants available
  • Good return on investment
  • Better for the environment

Cons

  • Hefty upfront costs
  • Grants are limited
  • Investments take a while to earn back
  • Solar panels sometimes unreliable

What Are the Solar Panel Pros? ✅

  1. Cheaper Electricity Bills
    With your own energy source, you’ll start making savings on your electricity bills almost instantly so you won’t be paying an energy company as much every month. You’ll also have a bit of protection against later price hikes.
  2. Grants Available
    Grants are available for solar panels unlike for other renewable energy. The SEAI grants and significantly reduces the upfront cost for your solar panels so you don’t have to worry too much about prices.
  3. Good Return on Investment
    Since your return on your investment will be over 20%, that’s a really great return after you’ve made the money back. You’ll have a lot more income to spend on other things.
  4. Better for the Environment
    Naturally, investing in your own solar panels is the best way to invest in renewable energy for the rest of Ireland. It’s also one of the best ways that you can do your bit for the environment. Solar panels also help reduce Ireland's overall carbon emissions to meet our Paris Agreement targets.

What About the Solar Panel Cons? ❌

  1. Hefty Upfront Costs
    The upfront costs are extortionate in some cases given the technology and the skill needed for the installation process. Hopefully one day these costs can be brought down to make it easier for people without as much in savings to install one.
  2. Grants Are Limited
    Though the SEAI grants help with bringing down the cost, at the end of the day it still doesn’t make much of a dent in the price of the solar panels. You’ll still need to have about €5,000 ready in your bank account whatever you receive in a grant.
  3. Investment Takes a While To Earn Back
    Although it's a worthwhile return, it does take a while to earn back, especially if you spend a lot of money on solar panels in the first place. 3 to 4 years might be too long to wait!
  4. Solar Panels Sometimes Unreliable
    Solar panels are sometimes unreliable and unusable in cloudy weather, so you should definitely assess where you live and whether you get a lot of sunlight before you buy your solar panels - it might affect your return!

Check Out the Different Solar Panel Companies!

  

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