Securing Solar Panel Grants in Ireland for 2023

men working on solar panels

As climate change challenges escalate, many in Ireland are eyeing solar panels as a remedy. This shift not only diminishes energy bills but also fosters the utilisation of green power, supported by grants.

Solar panel grants have been a cornerstone of Ireland's green initiative for a while now. Our thorough guide guides you through every step of securing these grants effectively.

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How Do Solar Panels Function?

Solar panels present a renewable avenue for generating electricity at home, eliminating dependence on energy suppliers. These panels, available in various sizes and shapes, employ distinct techniques to convert sunlight into electricity, offering many benefits. 

Strategically installed on rooftops, they optimally harness sunlight based on your location. They are instrumental in fostering environmental well-being alongside other renewable energy sources like wind and offshore wind farms.

What Varieties of Solar Panels are Accessible in Ireland?

In Ireland, you can choose from three different types of solar panels, although the solar panel grant does not cover all. It is prudent to explore each type thoroughly to ascertain the most suitable option for your needs:

  • Photovoltaic Solar Panels: These panels, also known as PV panels, leverage the photovoltaic effect to transform sunlight into usable electricity. Notably, this electricity can also be channelled to heat water cylinders. A standard PV panel has a price tag starting at around €4,000 in Ireland.

  • Thermodynamic Solar Panels: These panels are adept at producing hot water, bypassing the direct electricity generation process. They circulate a very cold liquid refrigerant (-22°C) within the panel that absorbs heat from the surrounding air and the sun's infrared rays. The starting cost for these panels is roughly €4,500.

  • Solar Thermal Panels: Operating on a simple principle where black surfaces attract and retain heat, these panels directly harness solar heat. This concept is akin to a dark vehicle heating up significantly upon prolonged exposure to the sun. These panels are slightly more affordable, ranging between €2,800 and €3,000.

It's essential to note that while all these types are at your disposal in Ireland, solar panel grants primarily cover photovoltaic solar panels.

Money Matters: Understanding the Solar Panel Grant in Ireland

solar panels on roof

The Solar Panel Grant, or Solar Electricity Grant, facilitated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), provides one-time financial support for purchasing and installing photovoltaic panels. 

This initiative aims to propel Ireland closer to fulfilling its Paris Agreement commitments by curbing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Open to all homeowners and landlords considering the installation of photovoltaic solar panels, this grant is part of SEAI's broader strategy to enhance the home energy efficiency, which includes subsidies for electric cars, home electric car chargers, and insulation.

Banking Essentials: Grant Recipient Responsibilities

You must submit your bank details upon grant approval to facilitate the grant's disbursement through Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). This method ensures the grant amount is directly credited to your bank account, ready to settle payments with the chosen registered installer.

Legal Considerations: Regulations Governing the Grant

It's critical to note that the grant funds must exclusively cover your solar panel expenses, either as an initial payment or as part of a long-term financial agreement with a registered solar panel installer. Misappropriation of these funds for other purposes can result in severe consequences. Ensure to comply with the regulations to avoid complications.

Eligibility Criteria for the 2023 Solar Panel Grant

Solar Panel Installation on Home

To qualify for the solar panel grant, applicants must submit a duly filled application to the SEAI and adhere to the specified eligibility criteria. Please meet these standards to avoid application rejection.

Pre-Application Checklist for the Solar Panel Grant

Preparation is Key

Before venturing to apply for the solar panel grant, ensure you meet the stipulated prerequisites, which include:

  • Proof of Home Ownership - You must either be the homeowner or landlord of the residence where the solar panels are to be installed. The residence should have been constructed and inhabited before 2021. Tenants renting the property are not eligible for this grant.

  • Engaging a Registered Company - To progress with the solar panel grant, engaging a registered solar panel company recognised by the SEAI is mandatory, thus ensuring compliance and quality in the installation process. The SEAI website lists all registered companies for your reference.

  • Acquiring Safe Electrical Certificates - All electrical tasks must be carried out by an electrician accredited by Safe Electric Ireland. After installation, you need to schedule a BER (Building Energy Rating) assessment to evaluate the energy efficiency of your property.

  • Connection to the Electricity Distribution System - Another essential step is securing a connection to the ESB Networks' Electricity Distribution System. This involves filling out and submitting the ESB Networks NC6 form to formalise the connection request.

Calculating Your Grant: Solar Panel Grant Amounts in 2023

The solar panel grant amount varies based on several factors, with the peak output of your solar panel system being paramount. The peak output, indicating the maximum power your solar panels can generate, primarily dictates the grant amount. Here's a breakdown of the potential grant amounts based on kilowatt peak (kWp):

  • 1 kWp: €900

  • 2 kWp: €1800

  • 3 kWp: €2100

  • 4 kWp: €2400

Understanding the Coverage

The solar panel grant covers labour and material costs associated with installing solar panels on your property. 

Notably, the maximum grant amount might be less than the average cost of installing PV solar panels (approximately €4,000), implying that it's designed to offset a portion of the overall expenses. 

Hence, additional personal funding might be necessary to secure the optimal solar panel system. Moreover, the grant does not cater to the costs of solar panel batteries or future repairs.

Availability of Grants for Thermodynamic Solar Panels

As of 2023, the SEAI solar panel grant exclusively supports the installation of PV solar panels, excluding thermodynamic and solar thermal panels. Individuals seeking to install these panels will need to bear the costs independently. Nonetheless, exploring the home energy efficiency grant is beneficial; which offers opportunities to enhance the efficiency of thermodynamic solar panels at your residence.

How to Apply for the Solar Panel Grant in 2023?

Applying for the solar panel grant is a relatively straightforward process facilitated through the SEAI's user-friendly website. However, before you begin, ensure you have gathered specific details to streamline the application process.

What Details Are Required for the Application?

Before initiating the solar panel grant application, gather the details about your property and grid connection to avoid hassle. The required information includes:

  • Your email address

  • Your MPRN number

  • The construction year of your property

  • Your selected registered solar panel company

  • Specifics of the solar panel product you plan to install

Keeping this information handy will help you swiftly navigate the application process as these details will be requested.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Applying

Understanding the Process

Embarking on the solar panel grant application involves a systematic seven-step procedure. Follow these stages sequentially for a smooth experience:

  • Choosing Your Installer: Begin by obtaining quotes from registered solar panel installation companies. Assess these quotes judiciously to select an option that aligns with your budget and property specifications.

  • Filling the Grant Application: Proceed to complete the online solar panel grant application form. At this stage, you must provide accurate bank details and await grant approval before installing.

  • Installer's Application to ESB Networks: Your chosen installer will liaise with ESB Networks to secure the connection to the electricity distribution network, which typically spans around four weeks. Exercise patience during this period.

  • Installation of Solar Panels: Install your solar panels upon receiving the necessary approvals. This step involves settling the payment with the installer or agreeing to a financing plan for future payments.

  • Acquiring the BER Rating: After the installation, arrange for a BER assessment of your property. Prompt coordination with a BER rating assessor is critical to prevent potential forfeiture of the grant.

  • Documentation Submission: Your installer will facilitate the submission of necessary documents for the grant approval, forwarding a copy to the SEAI for evaluation.

  • Grant Claim Processing by SEAI: Following receiving all requisite documents, the SEAI undertakes processing of your grant claim. Upon successful validation, the grant amount is transferred to your bank account, a procedure that lasts between 4 to 6 weeks.

Adhering to this systematic approach will ensure a smooth transition through each phase of the grant application process, paving the way to a greener future for your property!

What is the Validity Period for the Solar Panel Grant?

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After confirming your grant amount, an 8-month window is allotted to complete the installation. Exercising prudent planning is essential as failing to utilise the grant within this period renders it expired, with no options for reapplication. Therefore, meticulous preparation and scheduling are vital to fully capitalise on the grant before embarking on the solar panel installation journey.