Are solar panels worth it in Ireland?

By Morgan Pierce

Updated March 21, 2023

On another ‘fine soft day’ we ask, “Are solar panels worth it in Ireland?” The answer is a resounding “yes”. The type of solar energy being installed in Ireland works by harvesting sunlight through solar panels.

You’ve seen the screaming headlines: “Woman over 100 years of age stunned as electricity bill soars to almost €1,000″ and “Café owner in shock after €10,000 electricity bill for just two months”

You follow your children from room to room, turning out lights, and are known to “go on the warpath” if the TV is left on. You nag your spouse incessantly about boiling the kettle, walking away for twenty minutes, then switching it on again. You’ve googled “how to save on electricity” so many times that your Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with adds for solar energy suppliers.

Looking up from the screen to see rain spattering the window, you race outside to drag the clothes off the line while questioning your own sanity for even considering the idea of solar.

You live on an island in the North Atlantic renowned internationally for its green fields and damp climate – not the Costa del Sol. Could solar PV possibly work here? 

Are solar panels worth it? The answer is a resounding "yes".

The type of solar energy being installed in Ireland works by harvesting sunlight through solar panels. The panels generate electricity or heat water though a principle known as the photovoltaic effect. There are several factors that effect the amount of electricity generated – the amount of sunlight, the direction in which the panels face, the size and number of panels, and the material from which the panels are constructed. Reputable solar energy providers know how the right combination of those elements can maximise the amount of electricity produced for Irish homeowners.

Solar panels can absorb both direct and indirect sunlight, so they do produce electricity on cloudy days. Even on days with heavy cloud cover, solar panels can produce up to 25% of the power they generate in bright sunlight. Rainy weather can even improve your systems overall performance – by cleaning panels of dust and grime so that they operate more effectively when the sun does shine.

While the sunniest place in the world, the eastern Sahara Desert, gets 4,300 hours of sunshine a year, those super-hot conditions are not necessarily the best for generating electricity. In fact, solar PV panels actually work less efficiently at the temperature generated by that much sun because too much heat inhibits the conversion process within the panels. When a solar panel is already hot, electrons have more initial energy, so there are less electrons available to excite. When there are less electrons to excite, less energy is released, thereby reducing the total voltage generated.

Ireland gets between 1,400-1,700 hours of sunlight per year. That equates to 5 or 6 hours a day over most of the country. Since the temperature rarely gets much warmer than 25 degrees Celsius, solar panel production conditions are truly ideal.

While it’s still wise to drag that laundry in before the next downpour, Ireland has more than enough sunshine for solar energy to generate meaningful savings for Irish homeowners.

Make it hassle-free with SolarSmart

Whether you choose us as your supplier or one of our competitors, at SolarSmart we believe solar energy should and can be a valuable part of Ireland’s green energy future.

Find out how much you will save every year once you go solar