Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

Solar PhotoVoltaics (PV) is technology which converts daylight into clean electricity. A photovoltaic system employs solar modules, each comprising a number of solar cells, which generate electrical power. Solar generated power is 100% renewable, clean energy made from daylight.

When solar power is created, it must be used immediately, otherwise the unused electricity must spill over to the Irish grid. To avoid spilling excess electricity to the grid, a battery is needed so that it can store what is produced during daylight so that it can then be used to power a home during the night.

Another option for storing excess electricity is to divert it to an immersion. An ideal scenario is to store any excess in both a battery and an immersion.

The installation process generally does not exceed 2 working days.

A typical solar PV system consists of the following components:

  • An array of interconnected solar PV modules that make electricity from daylight
  • An inverter(s) which changes DC current to AC current for use in your home
  • A battery to store power generated during daylight to use at night
  • An immersion diverter to send excess electricity to heat your water
  • Roof mounting and fire safety equipment

The solar panels capture the power from daylight and turn it into DC electricity. The inverter changes the DC current into AC current for your home. The battery fills up during summer days when there is a lot of daylight, so that you need virtually no electricity from the grid during summer months. And in the winter, the battery fills itself at night on a reduced tariff to power your home during the day.

If you have an immersion, you can elect to divert excess electricity to your immersion to heat hot water. Solar PV modules can be roof or ground mounted, ideally facing south and at a pitch angle. Solar systems facing east and west also function effectively.

All SolarSmart systems come with a 2-year installation warranty. The solar PV panels come with a 12-year manufacturer’s warranty and a 25-year linear performance warranty. The Inverter and Battery each come with a 10-year warranty.

The first step on your journey to a zero-carbon home is to arrange an online consultation with a solar advisor. During the session, we will review your energy consumption habits and complete an aerial assessment of your property to determine how many PV panels could fit.

Our goal at SolarSmart is to size a solar system that will deliver the greatest impact to your personal savings over the next 25 years.

SEAI offer a solar panel and battery grant, up to €2400 depending on the size of your system and whether you chose to install a battery.  In order to be eligible, your property must have been built and occupied before 2021. 

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine offer a grant for farmers which covers 60% of the cost of installing a solar system, up to a maximum of €90,000.

Planning permission is no longer required for solar PV panels. However, if your dwelling is a protected structure or listed building, we recommend you seek guidance from your local planning authority.

The typical payback period for a solar system without a battery is between 4-5 years, and with a battery it is typically 7-8 years.