Solar panels on new houses in Ireland

Solar Panel Savings Calculator for Irish Homeowners

Solar panels save you money on electricity. But how much money? You can estimate your savings with the calculator at the end of this page. But wait! Read the article first so you’ll be well-informed about what numbers you should plug in to get the most accurate estimate of your savings. Because savings will not be the same for everyone! Four main factors influence how much you’ll save with solar. So let’s look at them one-by-one:

What Determines Your Savings With Solar?

Annual solar energy production

Panel orientation (ideally South) and your geographical location influence energy production. However, number of panels is the most important factor. More panels = more energy.

Solar panel installers generally provide an estimate of solar energy production when they give you a quote. Alternatively, PVGIS lets you estimate energy production for yourself. Finally, if you just want some approximate numbers to work with, use:

  • 2,000 kWh for a small home system (approx 2.3 kW rated power)
  • 4,700 kWh for a medium home system (approx 5.4 kW rated power)
  • 7,500 kWh for a large home system (approx 8.7 kW rated power)
5 solar panels in a row on the roof of a brick house
A small rooftop solar panel system

Electricity unit price

You’ll find this on your electricity bill. Be careful though! Many electricity suppliers quote prices excluding VAT. So add on 13.5% VAT if necessary to get the real price you pay. If you have both day and night rates then look at the day rate. It’s typically ~ €0.23 in Ireland.

Solar Onsite-Consumption Percentage

How much of your solar energy will you use onsite in your home? With solar panels alone, onsite-consumption can be as low as 30%. A hot water power diverter should bring that up to ~ 50%. Add a battery on top for 70%+.

Onsite consumption will also vary depending on your electricity usage and the size of your solar panel system. With few panels (relative to your needs), your onsite-consumption will be higher. On the other hand, onsite-consumption will be low if you have a huge solar panel system but don’t use much electricity.

Being smart about your electricity usage can boost onsite-consumption. For example, running power-hungry appliances (like washing machines) in the middle of the day will boost onsite-consumption.

Washing machine control knobs
Running a wash in the middle of the day can maximize solar energy use

Export payments for surplus electricity

The Irish government is working on a scheme to pay homeowners for their surplus solar electricity. Payments are scheduled from July 2022. In practice, it’s likely that you’ll be able to count these payments as credit against your electricity usage. Also, there will be a tax-free allowance for the first €200 that you earn by selling electricity to the grid each year. So we’ll count export payments along with savings, even though they’re technically revenue.

How much will the export payments be?

Electricity suppliers will be able to bid for your surplus electricity. Just like you can shop around for the best deal when buying electricity, you will also be able to shop around for the best deal to sell your surplus power. We have yet to see exactly how much electricity suppliers will offer. However, bids are likely to be a bit lower than the wholesale electricity price.

As of early 2022, wholesale electricity prices are high due to the European gas shortage (~€0.25 per kWh). Previously, €0.06 per kWh was more usual. However, with higher carbon prices, we might not see prices fall to €0.06 again. So €0.10 is my best medium-term estimate for wholesale electricity prices. Based on that, I would expect offers of around €0.08 per kWh to be available for surplus solar electricity. Feel free to use your own best guess!

High carbon prices push up the cost of electricity

Putting it all together

Congratulations for making it this far! You’re now well-informed and ready to estimate your electricity savings. Note these are year-1 savings. Savings are likely to increase over time with inflation.

The EnergyD Solar Panel Savings Calculator

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Installers generally don't offer quotes for timeframes longer than 6 months. So here are guide prices (before grants):

  • 2kW (S): ~€5,500
  • 4kW (M) + myEddi: ~€8,500
  • 6kW (L) + battery: ~€12,500