There is a lot of information and supports currently available to help relieve the pressure of the energy crisis, and pointing out the environmental changes needed.

One popular option is Solar PV Panels, which are solar panels that utilise sunlight, specifically solar irradiance, to generate electricity.

While the bare essential for solar panels is sunlight, the benefit and value is more closely linked to location and to an individual’s home routine. With that in mind, this article will help you to determine if Solar PV Panels are a viable option for you, by considering the following questions:

  • Will energy produced be available when I need it?
  • Is my home physically good for solar?
  • How much will it cost, how long will it last and where do I go?

Will energy produced be available when I need it?

Solar PV panels will only generate electricity during hours when there is sunlight. In Ireland this would be approximately 7hrs in the winter and up to 16hrs in the summer. The electricity generated would gradually increase and peak around the middle of the day, and then subsequently decrease as the day comes to an end.

If your lifestyle allows you to maximise energy use during these hours throughout the year, you would see a reduction in costs since you will be using the energy directly. The image below indicates the time of daylight in each month for ease of determining this. If you aren’t physically in the home, you may be able to use smart devices, smart technology, and timers to benefit from this also.

Figure 1 Average Length of Day Ireland (, 2021)

Is my home physically good for solar?

In answering this question, three points need to be covered:

  • Geographical location;
  • Roof angle;
  • Roof size.

Solar irradiance is not the same across the country. A solar PV panel in the south would be more effective than one in the north; fortunately there is only a small (10%) variance across the country. If your home is located in the areas shaded orange to red on the map below, you would benefit slightly more from having Solar PV panels than those shaded light yellow or green.

Figure 2 Photovoltaic Electricity Potential (© 2020 The World Bank, Source: Global Solar Atlas 2.0, Solar resource data: Solargis,

The facing position of your home will also contribute to the quality of electricity that will be generated. Facing position refers to the facing direction of the surface that the panels will be mounted on. South facing is the ideal direction and a variation towards north in the east or west direction will see a gradual drop off in quality.

The same concept applies to Roof Angle. The ideal roof angle is between 35° to 40°. The quality of electricity generated will however decrease at a greater rate as your roof goes closer to 90° vs as it goes towards a flat roof (0°).

The ideal arrangement would be a south facing 35° roof. Roof angle and facing direction are linked, so don’t write off the solar option if your house is closer to north facing as a low angle roof can still be viable.

The Roof Size will determine how many panels you can install. A large available roof area will result in a greater capacity for energy generation. A Solar PV system will be between 2 and 6 kW and this would need a respective available roof area of 9m² to 27m². It’s important to note that the number of kW of your system should be suited to your needs and wants.

If your home’s Facing Direction, Roof Angle and Roof Size are far from the ideal scenarios mentioned above, there is one option to remedy all - Ground Mounting. If your home has available ground space you could consider ground mounting your solar panels. Ground mounting allows for greater options in direction, angle and area.

How much will it cost, how long will it last and where do I go?

The Cost of a Solar PV system depends on size, but a good measure is €1,800 - €2,500 per kWp. Aspects such as shape, structural strength, accessibility and location of key components can vary the price. Pursuing a Ground Mounted system would also increase in price, the further the panels are from the main structure of the house. Value in a Solar PV system can be found in their lifespan, which can be 20-25 years, and additionally they are considered low maintenance and generally only require periodic cleaning of the surface.

The SEAI offer grants for domestic and non-domestic installation of Solar PV panels. Domestic grants are available in two forms - ‘Individual Grants’ where a home owner can apply for grant funding for up to €2,400 to install just Solar PV panels and project manage it themselves - or the ‘One Stop Shop Service’ where a wider range of grants are available and fully project managed on your behalf.

SEAI Home Energy Grants

Non-domestic grants apply to

  • Businesses
  • The agricultural sector
  • Public sector bodies
  • Schools
  • Community centres
  • Non-profit societies

Information on how to apply can be found here:

Non-Domestic Microgen Grant.

It is worthwhile for businesses to be aware of other SEAI grants available to them i.e. Energy Audits, Energy Contracting, and Capital Allowance to name a few. Information on all of these can be found here:

 Business Grants and Supports

The information presented above aims to advise on some factors to consider in determining whether Solar PV Panels will work for you. It is presented as guidance only and should under no circumstances be considered definitive or directive. 

To obtain home-specific advice, to get a more accurate quote and apply for grants, please follow the below link to access the SEAI list of certified, qualified and quality-approved suppliers.

Find a Registered Professional