Solar PV for the Home
There are little things we can all do to reduce our own carbon footprint. Generating your own electricity from sunlight using solar panels is one of the most effective, as it reduces your need for traditional electricity generated by fossil fuels.
And because electricity generated by the sun is free, you’ll cut your energy bills too.
So, if you are interested in installing solar panels at your home, where do you start?
Types of panels
There are two type of solar panels. Solar Thermal & Solar Photovoltaic. Solar Thermal panels that are designed to heat water only, if you’re looking to generate your own electricity & heat your water you will need to get Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels.
While it is possible to install Solar PV panels on the ground, this is relatively rare for home installs. Instead, you are most likely to have your panels installed on your roof. The exact location on your roof will be defined by us. We will position the panels in the spot that will generate the most electricity for your home.
As anyone who has ever bought a house will know, south-facing is where the sun is, so a southerly aspect on a roof of 30° is considered ideal in this country.
How much electricity do Solar PV panels generate?
How much electricity you can produce will depend on the available surface area on your roof. PV panels currently being installed around Ireland will produce 1kWP for every 6m² of generating surface area. In other words, at peak performance, 6m² will generate 1 unit of electricity per hour. To put that in real terms, 1 unit of electricity would power about 6 hours of TV use or one washing machine cycle. As discussed below, how much surface area you can cover will be influenced by planning rules as well as the size of your roof.
The weather will also be a factor. In blasting sunshine your Solar PV panels will operate at optimum capacity but cloud cover, for example, will reduce your output. It is important to remember that your Solar PV panels will still produce electricity on cloudy days, and the most important factor is light, not heat! So, while the longer days in summer will give you the best performance, winter days can still give you good output while the sun shines.
Installing Solar Power
Installing Solar PV panels is not an invasive construction project. The maturity of the installation technology mean that home installations can be completed in one day. When roof mounted, these panels are fixed to the roof on a specially designed mounting kit.
Installing Battery Storage
While Solar PV panels can both save you money and reduce your impact on the environment, adding a battery storage unit will give you even more benefit. With a battery storage unit, any excess electricity generated during the day by your solar panels can be stored for use later. Take a typical summer day, while your panels can generate the most electricity, the house is usually empty. With a battery storage unit that energy can be stored and used after the sun goes down.
The battery storage unit needs to be installed inside your home. The installation is performed by one of our registered technicians and they will help you to decide the best place to install the unit.
The cost of solar has greatly reduced over the last 10 years. What was once seen as an expensive non-viable solution to the rising cost of energy and the impending carbon tax levies is fast becoming the solution for homeowners across Ireland.
If you are interested in installing one of these systems, there are rebates and grants available from the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority Of Ireland) to offset the cost of Solar PV installation and/or battery storage units.
The introduction of SEAI Residential Solar PV grant scheme has finally ensured that Ireland has a coherent strategy in this sector and will enable us to join our European partners in the fight to reduce carbon emissions and begin to address the ever-increasing concern of global warming.
SEAI Grant Summary
- €900 for every kWp up to a maximum of 2kWp.
- Additional €300 per kWp for systems up to 4kWp.
- Grant is a one-off payment that is sent directly to the customers bank account via SEAI.
- Only an installer who is on SEAI’s Renewable Installers Register for Solar PV can certify the installation. Find us on the list here: https://www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/solar-electricity-grant/solar-pv-installers-and-c/