Are Solar Panels Worth it in Ireland? (Homeowners)

Thousands of people like you are getting solar panels. But are solar panels worth it in Ireland? On one hand, solar panels can give you big saving on your electricity bills. On the other hand, solar panels come with a significant up-front cost. There are also some surprising benefits of solar panels that you might not have known about. This article will give you the information you need to decide if solar panels are worth it for you.

The Two Types of Solar Panels

Did you know there are two different types of solar panels on the market? The first type is solar thermal. Thermal means heat and that’s exactly what solar thermal panels provide – hot water. Solar thermal panels can be worth it if you use a lot of hot water and you don’t have enough roof space for the second type of solar panel: Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

Solar PV panels produce electricity directly from daylight. This is a great advantage because electricity is such a versatile form of energy. You can use electricity from solar PV panels to give you hot water and power everything else in your home too. Moreover, solar PV is now cost competitive with solar thermal, too. Overall, solar PV is almost always the better option for new solar systems in Ireland. So let’s focus on solar PV from here on.

Do Solar Panels Give a Decent Output in Ireland?

Solar panels can produce power from either daylight or sunlight. But do we get enough light to make solar panels worth it in Ireland? The answer is that a typical south-facing solar module produces around 300 units of power each year in Ireland. A typical solar panel might have 10 of these modules, giving a total of 3,000 units per year. That’s enough to cover around 70% of the electricity use for an average Irish household. So yes, a modern solar panel system can give a very decent output in Ireland.

How Much Will You Save With Solar Panels?

In general, the more electricity you use, the more you can save by getting solar panels. Generally speaking, you can save around 40-50% on your electricity bill with solar panels and a power diverter (for hot water). Add a battery and you can reduce your electricity consumption from the grid by 70%. These numbers are year-round averages and will be higher in the summer and lower in the winter. This image shows what that could mean in euro terms:

What are solar panels worth in terms of savings on your electricity bills?  Someone with high electricity usage and annual bills of €700 could save €300 with solar or €450 with solar and a battery.  Someone with annual bills of €1,500 could save €700 with solar panels or €1,050 by adding a battery.
Image License: CC-BY. Credit: energyd.ie

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Ireland?

As a rough guide, solar panels for your home generally cost somewhere from €5,500 – €13,000. If you get your panels installed before July then the SEAI grant can bring this down to around €4,000 – €10,000. These figures vary based on many factors, from the size of the system to brand of the panels and whether you decide to go for a battery or not. Feel free to contact me for an exact price.

Solar Panels as a Financial Decision

Once you know the costs and the savings, you’ll be able to determine if buying solar panels will be a good financial decision. There are a couple of ways to weigh up solar panel finance. First of all, you can compare the return on your solar panels to other investment options like bank deposits or stocks and shares:

What are Solar Panels Worth as an Investment?

The year one return on investment for solar panels is generally somewhere in the range of 8-15%. After that, returns are likely to improve as inflation leads to higher electricity prices over time. For perceptive, savings accounts only pay around 2%, while you can make around 9% on the stock market. Solar panels compare even better as an investment when you take taxes into account.

The return on investment for solar panels in Ireland compared to bank deposits and stock market investments.  Your investment in solar panels is safer and will be worth more than your investment in stocks or bonds.

Solar panels provide a high stable return on investment in Ireland. Image License: CC-BY. Credit: energyd.ie

Solar Panels Vs Electricity Bills

Another way to look at solar panel finance is to compare going solar versus continuing to pay bills on 100% of the power you use. Depending on the brand, solar panels can last 35 years or more. Multiply the annual savings from your solar panels by 35 and subtract the cost of the solar panels. This tells you how much extra you’ll spend over 35 years if continue to get all your electricity from the power company. Here’s and example:

Solar panels cost = €7,000
Solar panels electricity value per year = €875
Electricity bills difference = €875 X 35 = €30,625
Difference = €23,635

The result is that it would be €23,653 cheaper install solar panels than to continue getting all your electricity from your power company. Of course, this example is crude and doesn’t take account of changing electricity prices. The truth is that the difference is likely to be much higher when you take electricity price inflation into account.

Three More Reason Why Solar Panels can be Worth it in Ireland

You can now decide if solar panels are worth it based on the electricity they produce. However, there are three more factors to take into account when you’re deciding if solar panels are worth it in Ireland. Only you can decide what each of these benefits is worth to you:

Solar Panels for Blackout Protection

Solar panels alone can’t power your house during a blackout, but by adding a smart battery you can keep the lights on even when the power goes out. Blackout protection generally won’t be enough to cover very heavy loads like electric showers. However, it can keep your fridge cool and let you use small appliances like lights, microwaves, and televisions. If you live in a part of Ireland that’s prone to power outages then it could be worth getting solar panels with blackout protection especially in mind.

Solar Panels and Energy Monitoring

Most solar panels systems today have an integrated sensor for monitoring your household power use. This lets you view your real-time and historical electricity usage from an app on your phone. With real-time energy monitoring, you’ll quickly learn which devices in your house are “energy hogs”. You could be surprised how easy it is to make even more electricity savings using this information.

Real-time energy monitoring of energy production by solar panels and energy consumption by a household
Many solar panel systems include energy monitoring features worth hundreds of Euros. Image License: CC-BY. Credit: energyd.ie

The Social Benefits of Solar Panels

Today, Ireland is dependent on fossil fuel imports for electricity production. This is triply problematic: Fossil fuel imports are a drain on our economy, they comprise our energy security, and they release harmful emissions when burned. Luckily, solar panels can help reduce these problems. With solar panels, you can produce clean indigenous electricity all while supporting Irish jobs.

Talk to Us About Solar

Are you interested in getting a quotation for your solar panel system? We would love to hear from you. Call 087 7024523 or email dominic@energyd.ie now.

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