Are Solar Panels Worth Investing In Ireland?

man fitting solar panel

Amid the escalating concerns of energy and climate crises, the urgency to transition from fossil fuels grows stronger daily.

At the heart of this conversation stands solar energy.

But what precisely is solar energy, and how does it function?

Dive into our comprehensive guide on solar energy in Ireland to find out.

What Is Solar Energy in Ireland?

In recent years, solar energy in Ireland has seen a significant uptick in popularity.

While Ireland may not be synonymous with sun-drenched landscapes, it presents a promising avenue for homeowners exploring renewable energy solutions and desiring reduced energy bills.

So, what makes solar energy tick in Ireland?

And is it a wise investment?

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Ready to harness the power of the sun? Get a free quote today for solar panel installation in your home and take the first step towards energy independence!

Understanding Solar Energy

Solar energy harnesses the sun's heat or light to produce electricity.

It's worth noting that plants have utilised solar energy for ages, converting sunlight during photosynthesis—showcasing nature's ancient energy generator.

We employ solar panels to capture and transform this sunlight into usable electricity for modern applications.

Diving into Solar Panel Types

Photovoltaic Solar Panels

  • These panels leverage the photovoltaic effect to transform sunlight into electricity.

  • Beyond electricity generation, they can also assist in heating hot water cylinders.

Thermodynamic Solar Panels

  • This panel type circulates a super cold (-22°C) refrigerant.

  • The refrigerant absorbs heat from ambient air and the sun's infrared rays to produce hot water.

Solar Thermal Panels

  • These panels directly soak in the sun's heat.

  • Their mechanism is straightforward: black surfaces attract heat. Think of a dark car heating up under the sun.

Among these, photovoltaic solar panels stand out in popularity.

They function even without constant direct sunlight and boast impressive longevity.

Furthermore, homeowners can avail of SEAI grants to financially support their solar panel installations.

How Efficient Is Solar Energy in Ireland?

Contrary to the belief associating solar efficiency with sun-drenched locales, Ireland's climatic conditions still accommodate solar energy.

While it's true that Ireland doesn't bask under the Mediterranean-like sun, solar panels don't require intense sunlight to operate efficiently.

Solar Panel Efficiency: A Closer Look

man holding solar panel

Solar panels' conversion efficiency isn't uniform; it varies based on the panel type and technology.

Solar panels can convert 15% to 22% of received solar energy into usable electricity.

Although this percentage may appear modest, acquiring panels with a cumulative capacity that meets your home's energy needs is essential.

The Rain Conundrum: Do Panels Work?

Surprisingly, cloudy or rainy days only partially hamper solar panel operations.

Daylight, regardless of its intensity due to cloud cover, still brings with it some degree of sunlight.

Thus, while the efficiency might drop on such days, energy production continues entirely, especially for photovoltaic panels.

When Are Solar Panels Ineffective?

Undoubtedly, nighttime is a period of inactivity for solar panels, given the Earth's orientation away from the sun.

For homeowners eager to harness solar energy post-sunset, investing in a solar battery can be a wise choice to store daytime-generated energy for nighttime use.

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy in Ireland

While solar energy emerges as a promising green alternative, it brings advantages and potential drawbacks.

Advantages of Solar Energy

Renewable Energy Source

  • Solar energy, unlike exhaustible fossil fuels, has been a constant for billions of years and remains a sustainable choice for the future.

  • For Ireland, this paves the way towards decreasing reliance on natural gas and mitigating climate change impacts.

Low Operating Costs

  • Solar systems are more cost-efficient due to minimal maintenance when juxtaposed with other renewable sources like nuclear.

  • These systems promise a durable lifespan, typically 25 to 40 years.

Enhanced Energy Independence

  • Irish households can decrease grid dependency by adopting solar, ensuring a consistent energy supply, even during power outages.

Environmental Benefits

  • As a clean energy form devoid of harmful emissions, solar installations aid in shrinking carbon footprints.

  • Such steps amplify Ireland's commitment to slashing national carbon emissions.

Governmental Support

  • After the 2015 Paris Agreement, Ireland's government initiated funding to promote energy-efficient household solutions.

  • The SEAI provides numerous grants targeting energy upgrades, EV charger installations, and domestic solar systems.

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

High Initial Investment

  • Solar setups demand high upfront costs, which, even with SEAI grants, can pose financial challenges for homeowners.

  • There need to be more subsidies for solar batteries, and any system repairs can further strain the finances.

Weather Reliance

  • The solar efficiency metric fluctuates based on Ireland's inconsistent sunlight hours.

  • This variance can hinder some households from generating adequate energy.

Maintenance Needs

  • Despite rigorous testing, solar systems occasionally require upkeep to guarantee optimal functionality.

  • Challenges include cleaning, wiring inspections, periodic component replacements, and damage risks in adverse weather conditions.

Delayed Return on Investment (ROI)

  • The substantial initial costs can elongate the ROI period, taking approximately 3-4 years to recover the initial investment through energy bill savings.

Inconsistent Energy Source

  • Solar energy's reliability can only sometimes match the consistent energy supply from conventional grid systems.

  • Ireland's lack of consistent sunlight can impact solar efficiency, necessitating occasional grid reliance.

Environmental Impact of Solar Energy in Ireland

solar panels on roof

Solar energy, often hailed as a green solution, also faces scrutiny over its ecological footprint. Here's a balanced examination of its environmental merits and concerns:

Why Solar Energy Benefits the Environment?

Zero Emissions

  • Solar installations don't emit pollutants, placing them among the top eco-friendly energy solutions.

Preservation of Natural Landscape

  • Unlike extensive energy farms (e.g., wind farms), solar panels can merge seamlessly into existing structures.

  • This approach champions a decentralised, or "smart", energy grid, veering from conventional centralised systems.


  • Solar energy banks on the sun, an inexhaustible resource, contrasting finite fuels that risk depletion.

  • Its application sidesteps the mining-intensive methods associated with fossil fuels, promoting a cleaner energy shift.

Ecological Concerns Linked to Solar Energy

Manufacturing and Material Procurement

  • Solar panel production demands specific materials, some sourced through mining and energy-rich processes.

Carbon Intensity

  • Despite being a renewable source, solar energy's inception—due to manufacturing processes—is marked by a notable carbon footprint.

  • As per data from the IPCC's special report, its carbon intensity ranks high among renewables.

  • (Note: gtCO2e indicates gigatons of carbon equivalent per kilowatt-hour)

Immediate Ecological Trade-offs

  • While solar promises long-term environmental benefits, its initial ecological implications may pose challenges.

  • Though promising, the journey to a greener future may demand some short-term concessions.

In Conclusion: Embracing the Solar Future in Ireland

Get a Free Quote

Ready to harness the power of the sun? Get a free quote today for solar panel installation in your home and take the first step towards energy independence!

As the global community pivots toward more sustainable energy solutions, solar energy emerges as a leading contender, especially in Ireland. Its advantages, from environmental to economic, often outweigh the challenges. 

For homeowners and businesses in Ireland, transitioning to solar energy is a step toward a more sustainable future and a strategic move to reduce energy costs. If you're contemplating making the switch, there's no better time than now.

Take the next step in your sustainable journey today. Request a free quote and discover the potential of solar energy for your home or business.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many solar panels does it take to run a house in Ireland?

The number of solar panels required to run a house in Ireland depends on the household's energy consumption and the solar panels' efficiency. 

On average, a typical Irish home might need between 12 to 20 panels for a 3kW to 5kW system, but this can vary depending on individual energy needs.

Do solar panels add value to a house in Ireland?

Yes, solar panels can add value to a house in Ireland. 

Installing solar panels can reduce energy bills, increase a property's energy efficiency rating, and attract environmentally-conscious buyers. 

A study indicates that homes with solar panels sell faster and at a premium than those without.

What is the average cost of solar panels in Ireland?

The average cost of installing solar panels in Ireland can vary based on the type and size of the system. 

As of my last update in 2021, the cost for a residential solar panel system might range from €5,000 to €16,000 before any available grants or incentives. However, prices can fluctuate, and getting updated provider quotes is advisable.

How much money do you save with solar panels in Ireland?

The savings from solar panels in Ireland depend on several factors, including the system's size, the amount of sunlight the location receives, and the household's electricity consumption. 

On average, homeowners might save between €200 to €400 annually on electricity bills. Over the lifespan of the panels, which is typically 25-40 years, this can translate to substantial savings.