Solar Choices

FAQ Solar PV - We got answers!

Yes, solar PV systems will still generate electricity when there is daylight, so they will still function on overcast days in Ireland. In these conditions they will not be able to produce power at their maximum rated capacity (the figure in kilowatts (kW)), rather at some fraction of this figure. Solar panels will perform at their best in direct sunlight and therefore solar PV systems in Ireland will typically produce less than other, sunnier countries such as Spain. As mentioned above, a home solar PV system sized at 20 sq. m (~3kW) would generate around 2,600kWh of electricity a year if well-located, over 40% of the typical annual electricity demand of an Irish home.

Solar Panel work well on most roofs* facing South, South-East or South-West*. But solar panels will perform better and produce more electricity if they are South facing**, they can still perform at 80-85%** (compared to South facing) either facing due East or West.

* Remember, solar panels can also be ground mounted if there is not sufficient roof space or if the orientation is not favourable.

** It is important to look at shading in the area where you intend to install you solar panels, as shading has a negative effect on the amount of electricity that can be generated

The amount of electricity generated annually will depend on a range of factors including the hardware chosen, size of system, the geographical location and the direction in which the panels are installed. With the most common silicon solar panels typically 1 sq. m of panels will generate ~150W of power on a clear sunny day (that’s enough to power a laptop computer). A home solar PV system sized at 20 sq. m (~3kW) would generate around 2,600kWh of electricity a year if well-located, over 40% of the typical annual electricity demand of an Irish home.

The cost of purchasing and installing solar panels has come down considerably over the last 10 years. The cost of a solar PV system depends on a range of factors including the hardware chosen, size of system, accessibility of the roof or site, and the installer used. Broadly speaking home PV systems should range from around €1,500 – €2,000 per kW installed (ex-VAT), but prices will vary depending on the factors mentioned above.

Residential: Solar PV systems installed in a domestic setting under 12 sq. m (and representing less than 50% of the total roof area) are exempt from planning. For larger installations it is advised to check your local Council planning department for guidance.

Commercial/Agricultural: Larger solar PV systems in a business or industrial setting will typically require planning permission. Solar PV systems installed in such a setting under 50 sq. m (and representing less than 50% of the total roof area) are exempt from planning. It is advised to check your local Council planning department for guidance.

PV systems are low-maintenance, but not zero maintenance. The most important aspect is to monitor the performance of your system regularly. This could simply be a routine check of your inverter to see that the system is operational, and that the energy meter is increasing each day.

The solar panels themselves are extremely robust, but consideration should be given to cleaning them to maintain their performance. It is recommended that your Solar Panels are checked and serviced every 2 years. We offer a standard service and maintenance package.

Solar PV systems have a very long life span, as there are hardly any moving parts (only in the inverter). The inverter should last for over 10 years, and you should expect the panels to last for at least 25 years.

There is currently no obligation for energy suppliers to pay their customers for the electricity they generate with their solar panels (sometimes known as a ‘Feed-in-tariff’). It is up to energy suppliers to decide whether they wish to offer such a scheme to customers.

Most domestic Solar PV system installations take on average no more than a day and will cause minimal disruption. In general, the day looks like: erecting scaffolding, preparing the roof and mounting the panels. Install the inverter, finally carrying out the internal wiring.

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