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Guide to Solar Panels in Ireland

Are you and your family looking at ways to reduce your carbon footprint? Or reduce your electricity bill?  Maybe it is a combination of the two. 
 
Imagine a life where you didn’t have to worry about the thing that keeps Irish people awake on holiday, ‘did I remember to switch off the immersion?’. Where you could look forward to free, year-round hot water. Bath anyone? 
 
Let's take a deep dive into solar panels in Ireland, how they work, their benefits and the Energia discounts you can avail of if you have them installed. 
 

What are solar panels?

Solar panels are boards of connected silicon semiconductors that absorb sunlight to create electricity or heat water. 
 

What kind of solar panels heat water? 

There are multiple solar panel technologies available that use sunlight to heat water. In Ireland, the most common is a solar thermal collector or solar hot water collector. As an Energia customer you can have a solar thermal collector mounted on your roof at a discounted rate.
 

What kind of solar panels produce electricity?


Solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity. They can help you save on your electricity bills, improve the BER of your home and reduce your carbon footprint. There is a grant available from the SEAI in Ireland for this kind of solar panel.
 

What is the difference between solar panels that heat water and make electricity? 


Solar photovoltaic panels create electricity when a particle of light impacts the panel of semiconductors. It only works while the sun is out. It will also work on dull days capacity will reduce by 10-30%. Solar thermal collectors have fluid in tubes that the sun heats. The fluid is then moved from the panel and transfers the heat to water in a storage tank, heating it up for use.  
 

How do I get solar panels installed in Ireland? 


If you are an Energia customer, having solar thermal collector solar panels installed is easy. Fill out a solar panel enquiry form. A certified representative from Energia’s cosy home scheme will be in touch to discuss your needs. Once we have established what you require Energia will manage the entire process from beginning to end including safety tests and grant drawdowns. If you are interested in PV solar panels to generate electricity, the SEAI offer grants towards the cost of installation.
 

Are solar panels environmentally friendly?

Yes, solar panels are one of the cleanest sources of energy. Solar heat is both efficient and sustainable. Solar panels don’t use water to generate electricity and they do not release any harmful substances into the environment. Best of all, the source of the energy is free and plentiful. 
 

How many solar panels are needed to heat water in a house?

There are two factors that impact the answer to this question:

  1. The number of people in the house

  2. How much hot water they use

So it is likely to vary by project. In many instances upgrades will be completed based on the number of people that could live in your home rather than current occupancy. This is another factor to take into consideration when installing solar panels. 
 

What are the disadvantages to solar energy?

There are very few disadvantages to solar energy. There is an initial outlay for installing the panels, but this will be recouped in energy savings within a few years. If you want solar panels to generate electricity they will not be as efficient on dull days, and they cannot store electricity during fine weather for use at another time. 
 

Do solar panels work during rain?

We have so many rainy days in Ireland, this is an important question to answer. The good news is, yes your solar panels will work during the rainiest days. The clouds may filter out some of the brightness causing a reduction in efficiency, but they are still working. 
 

Do solar panels work at night?

No solar panels require sunlight to work. Researchers are working on creating an anti-solar panel which may be able to generate electricity at night, but they are still in development.
 

Do solar panels work in winter?

Yes, they still work in winter however because the days are shorter, they will have less output than in the summer months. 
 

Can solar panels work without direct sunlight?

Yes, solar panels work most efficiently in direct sun, but they can work without it too. 
 

Do solar panels last forever?

Unfortunately, not the solar panels currently on the market have a life span of 25-30 years. There are newer versions coming on the market all the time with longer lifespans. Still, the lifespan of a solar panel is long enough to more than recoup the cost of installation in cheap hot water or electricity.

There are so many advantages to adding solar panels to your home, why don’t you get in touch today to see how Energia can help you on your journey to a greener and more sustainable home.

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