Solar Panel Installation in Homes in Ireland: Your Top 20 FAQs Answered!
Solar Panel Installation in Homes in Ireland: Your Top 20 FAQs Answered!

Solar Panel Installation in Homes in Ireland: Your Top 20 FAQs Answered!

Solar Panel Installation in Homes in Ireland: Your Top 20 FAQs Answered!

Ireland’s increasing interest in sustainable living and renewable energy sources has led many homeowners to consider solar panel installation. In this article, we aim to answer the top 20 frequently asked questions regarding solar panel installation in Irish homes. Whether you’re contemplating the financial viability, curious about the environmental benefits, or simply want to understand how solar technology works in Ireland’s climate, we’ve got you covered. Our comprehensive guide is designed to provide you with the knowledge and confidence to make an informed decision about incorporating solar energy into your home.

  1. What is the Current State of the Solar Panel market in Ireland?

The solar panel market in Ireland is currently experiencing significant growth, reflecting global trends towards renewable energy sources. This surge is partly fuelled by the Irish government’s commitment to generating 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. 

Incentives like the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)’s grants for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for homes have also played a pivotal role. Additionally, technological advancements have made solar panels more efficient and cost-effective, further appealing to Irish homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills. The market is characterised by a growing number of suppliers and installers, indicating a healthy competitive landscape and increased accessibility for consumers across Ireland.

  1. What is the importance of considering solar energy for Irish homes?

Incorporating solar energy into Irish homes is pivotal for several reasons. Primarily, it aligns with the global and national shift towards sustainable and renewable energy sources, crucial in combating climate change. For homeowners, solar energy offers a way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, thus decreasing household carbon emissions and promoting environmental stewardship. 

Economically, installing solar panels can significantly cut electricity bills, providing long-term savings. Additionally, solar energy enhances energy independence, reducing vulnerability to fluctuating energy prices and supply disruptions. Given Ireland’s commitment to renewable energy, adopting solar power not only contributes to the collective effort to achieve environmental goals but also positions homeowners at the forefront of the green energy transition, supporting the country’s pathway to sustainability.

  1. What Are Solar Panels and How Do They Work?

Solar panels, or photovoltaic (PV) panels, turn sunlight directly into electricity. Solar panels are made up of lots of solar cells, which include silicon, phosphorus for the negative charge, and boron for the positive charge. When sunlight touches a solar cell, it energises the electrons in the silicon, leading to an electric current. This current is then caught by wires in the solar panels and can power homes and businesses.

The electricity generated by solar panels is DC (direct current), whereas most homes and electrical grids use AC (alternating current). Therefore, a device called an inverter is used to convert DC electricity into usable AC electricity. Solar PV systems can be installed on rooftops or in large ground-mounted arrays. They are scalable and modular, meaning they can be sized to match the specific energy needs of a household or entity. 

In essence, solar panels enable homeowners to harness the sun’s energy, converting it into electricity to power their daily lives, while also contributing to a more sustainable and renewable energy future.

  1. What are the main types of solar panels available for home use?

For homeowners considering a transition to solar energy, understanding the types of solar panels available is crucial. Three primary types dominate the market:

  1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels: Recognised for their high efficiency and sleek appearance, these panels are made from single-crystal silicon, providing them with a distinctive dark colour. Their efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity often makes them a preferred choice, despite typically being the most expensive option.
  2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels: These are made from multiple silicon crystals melted together. Visibly, they differ from their monocrystalline counterparts due to their bluish hue and less uniform appearance. While they offer slightly lower efficiency, their lower price point makes them an attractive option for many homeowners.
  3. Thin-Film Solar Panels: Distinguished by their lightweight and flexible design, thin-film panels can be made from a variety of materials, including amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide. Although they are the least efficient of the three types, their versatility makes them suitable for situations where weight and flexibility are priorities.

Each type of solar panel has its unique advantages and trade-offs in terms of efficiency, cost, and aesthetic appeal, making it important for homeowners to consider their specific needs and constraints when making a selection.

  1. How Can I Determine if my Home is Suitable for Solar Panels

Determining whether your home in Ireland is suitable for solar panel installation involves assessing several critical factors. 

  • Firstly, the orientation and pitch of your roof are paramount. Ideally, roofs should have a south-facing aspect to maximise sunlight exposure, although east or west orientations can also be viable with slightly reduced efficiency. A roof pitch between 30 to 40 degrees is considered optimal for solar power generation. 
  • Secondly, it’s essential to evaluate the amount of shading your roof receives. Trees, buildings, or other structures casting shadows can significantly reduce the amount of electricity your panels can generate. A site survey by a professional can help determine the impact of shading on your potential solar installation.
  • Roof condition and space are also crucial considerations. Before installation, ensure your roof is in good condition and can support the weight of the solar panels. You’ll need a relatively large, unobstructed area to accommodate the panels, which should be factored into your planning.
  • Lastly, local planning permissions may be necessary. While solar panels generally fall under “exempted development” in Ireland, meaning they don’t require planning permission if they meet certain criteria, it’s always advisable to check with your local authority, especially if your home is listed or in a conservation area.

Taking these factors into account will help you assess the suitability of your property for solar panels, paving the way for a smoother transition to renewable energy.

  1. What are the Main Benefits of Installing Solar Panels? 

Installing solar panels comes with a myriad of benefits, both in terms of energy savings and environmental contributions. 

  • Energy Savings: One of the most immediate and tangible benefits of solar panels is the significant reduction in electricity bills. By generating your own power, you depend less on the grid, leading to lowered utility costs. Over time, these savings can offset the initial cost of installation. Furthermore, with the potential to sell surplus energy back to the grid through feed-in tariffs, homeowners can see even greater financial returns.
  • Environmental Benefits: Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource, which means that adopting solar power is a key step towards reducing carbon footprint and combating climate change. Unlike fossil fuels, solar panels do not emit harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases during electricity generation, making them an environmentally friendly alternative. By shifting to solar, homeowners contribute to a decrease in the demand for fossil fuels, reducing the overall emissions linked to power production. 

Together, these benefits not only help homeowners save money but also align with broader efforts to transition towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly energy future.

  1. What is the Solar Panel Installation Process in Ireland?

The installation of solar panels in Ireland is a straightforward process that can significantly contribute to your home’s energy efficiency and environmental footprint. Here’s a step-by-step guide to understanding how solar panels are installed, along with the estimated time for completion.

  1. Initial Consultation and Site Assessment: The process begins with a professional solar installer conducting an initial consultation to discuss your energy needs and goals. Following this, a thorough site assessment is performed to evaluate the suitability of your roof, including its orientation, structure, and any shading concerns.
  2. Design and Planning: Based on the assessment, the solar installer will design a solar panel system that fits your home’s specifications and energy requirements. This phase includes selecting the right type of solar panels and planning the layout for optimum energy production.
  3. Obtaining Permits and Documentation: Though most residential solar panel installations in Ireland qualify as exempted development, your installer will ensure all necessary paperwork and local authority guidelines are adhered to. This may include seeking approval if your home is in a protected area or if there are specific regulations to follow.
  4. Installation: The physical installation of your solar panel system can vary in complexity, but it generally involves mounting the panels on your roof, installing an inverter, and setting up the connection to your home’s electrical system. Skilled technicians ensure everything is properly installed and secured to withstand weather conditions.
  5. Connection and Commissioning: After installation, your system will be connected to the grid. This involves configuring your meter to measure both the electricity you consume and any excess you feed back into the grid. Your installer will conduct several tests to ensure the system is functioning correctly and efficiently.
  6. Final Inspection and Handover: In some cases, a final inspection by the local authority or an independent assessor may be required to ensure the installation complies with all regulations. Once cleared, the installer will hand the system over to you, complete with documentation, warranties, and guidelines on how to operate and maintain your solar panel system.

The estimated time for the complete installation process can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the installation and the efficiency of obtaining necessary permits. The actual mounting of the panels typically takes only a few days, but preparation and post-installation processes can extend the total timeframe. 

By understanding each step of the installation process, homeowners can better prepare for the transition to solar energy, ensuring a smooth and successful integration of this renewable energy source into their homes.

  1. What is the likely Cost of Solar Panel Installation in Ireland

The cost of installing solar panels in Ireland can vary widely, depending on several factors including the size of the system, the type of panels used, and any additional modifications required for installation. On average, homeowners can expect to spend between €4,000 and €12,000 for a residential solar panel system. This price range typically covers the cost of the panels themselves, inverters, mounting hardware, wiring, and the installation labour.

Breakdown of Upfront Costs vs. Long-Term Savings

  • Upfront Costs: The initial expense of solar panel installation is significant, but it’s important to consider this as an investment in your home’s energy efficiency and environmental impact. The total upfront cost includes purchasing the solar panels, inverters, and other necessary equipment, plus the cost of installation and any required permits or inspections.
  • Long-Term Savings: The long-term financial benefits of solar panels can be substantial. Homeowners can expect to see a reduction in their electricity bills immediately, as they begin to generate their own power. Over time, the savings on energy costs can fully offset the initial investment. Additionally, with the possibility of selling excess electricity back to the grid through schemes like the feed-in tariff, there is potential for further financial return. The exact savings will depend on factors such as energy usage, the size of the solar panel system, and the amount of sunlight the location receives. Typically, solar panels have a lifespan of 20-25 years, during which significant savings can be accumulated.

It’s also worth noting that solar panel installations can benefit from various government grants and schemes aimed at encouraging renewable energy uptake. In Ireland, homeowners can apply for grants through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which can significantly reduce the upfront costs of installation.

Considering both the upfront costs and the potential long-term savings, solar panels represent a financially sound and environmentally sustainable investment for many homeowners in Ireland.

  1. What are the Government Grants and Incentives for Solar Panels

In Ireland, encouraging the adoption of renewable energy sources such as solar power is a priority for both environmental and economic reasons. Consequently, several government grants and financial incentives are available for homeowners looking to install solar panel systems. These schemes are designed to make solar energy a more affordable and attractive option.

Available Government Grants and Financial Aids

  • SEAI Solar Electricity Grant: One of the most prominent incentives is offered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The SEAI Solar Electricity Grant provides financial support for homeowners to install solar panels and a battery storage system. This grant can cover a significant portion of the upfront costs involved in the installation of solar panels.
  • Tax Incentives: Aside from direct grants, there are also tax incentive schemes which may allow homeowners to reclaim VAT on the purchase and installation of solar PV systems, enhancing the affordability of transitioning to solar energy.
  • Feed-in Tariffs: While not a grant, the Feed-in Tariff scheme rewards homeowners for surplus electricity generated by their solar panels, which is then fed back into the national grid. This scheme provides an ongoing financial return on the investment in solar energy.

How to Apply for These Benefits

  1. Research: Before applying, homeowners should first research the specific details and requirements for each grant or incentive scheme. The SEAI website is an excellent resource, providing comprehensive information on eligibility, terms, and conditions.
  2. Contact Approved Contractors like ePower: For most grants, including those offered by the SEAI, installations must be carried out by approved contractors. These professionals can also assist with the application process, ensuring all necessary documentation is accurately completed and submitted.
  3. Apply Online: Applications for the SEAI Solar Electricity Grant, for example, can be made online through the SEAI’s official website. You will need to provide details about your property, planned installation, and chosen contractor. 
  4. Documentation and Inspection: Applicants must submit the required documents, which typically include proof of identity, ownership, and a detailed quote from the approved contractor. Some schemes may require an initial inspection of your home to assess its suitability for solar panel installation.
  5. Approval and Installation: Once approved, you can proceed with the installation. After installation, a final inspection may be required to ensure the system meets the necessary standards before the grant is disbursed.

Engaging with these government grants and incentives can significantly reduce the financial burden of installing solar panels, making sustainable energy a viable option for more homeowners in Ireland.

  1. What can I expect from Solar Panel Efficiency and Performance in Ireland?

Solar panel efficiency is a crucial factor determining how much electricity your solar panel system can generate. It’s defined as the ratio of energy output from the solar cell to the input energy from the sun. Most commercially available solar panels today have efficiency ratings ranging from 15% to 22%. This means that they can convert 15-22% of the sunlight they absorb into usable electricity. 

In the context of Ireland, where sunlight levels and weather conditions can vary significantly, the efficiency of solar panels is particularly important. Ireland’s northern latitude means it experiences less intense sunlight than locations closer to the equator, and its climate can often be overcast. However, solar panels can still perform effectively because they can generate electricity from diffuse light, which is sunlight scattered by clouds. 

The performance of solar panels in Ireland is also affected by their orientation and angle of installation. The optimal orientation is typically south-facing, maximising exposure to sunlight throughout the day. The angle of installation should ideally match the latitude of the installation site to ensure the solar panels absorb as much sunlight as possible year-round. 

Furthermore, advancements in solar panel technology, including bi-facial panels which can absorb light from both sides, and systems equipped with trackers that follow the sun’s trajectory, can enhance electricity generation even in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Homeowners in Ireland considering solar panels should seek systems optimised for efficiency and durability to ensure the best performance throughout the unpredictable Irish weather.

  1. What are the different Battery Systems for Solar panels?

Pairing solar panels with battery systems significantly enhances the utility and efficiency of solar energy in homes. This combination not only allows homeowners to store surplus energy generated during the day for use during periods of low sunlight or at night but also provides a reliable backup power source, ensuring electricity availability during outages.

Advantages of Pairing Solar Panels with Battery Systems

  • Increased Energy Independence: By storing surplus solar energy, homeowners can reduce their reliance on the grid, leading to increased independence and reduced electricity bills.
  • Improved Energy Efficiency: Batteries facilitate the efficient use of solar energy by capturing excess production that would otherwise be exported back to the grid, especially useful in regions with no feed-in tariff.
  • Enhanced Reliability: In areas prone to power outages, a battery backup can provide essential power during interruptions, keeping critical appliances running.
  • Optimised Solar Usage: Battery storage enables homeowners to maximise the use of their solar output, using stored energy during peak demand times when electricity prices are higher.

Types of Batteries and Their Uses

  • Lead-Acid Batteries: Traditional lead-acid batteries are a cost-effective option for solar storage. They are well-suited for applications where weight and space are not critical considerations, such as standalone solar setups.
  • Lithium-Ion Batteries: Popular in modern solar installations, lithium-ion batteries offer a higher energy density, longer lifespan, and better efficiency compared to lead-acid batteries. They are ideal for residential solar systems where space is a consideration.
  • Saltwater Batteries: An environmentally friendly option, saltwater batteries use saltwater electrolytes. They are free from heavy metals, making them safer and more sustainable, although they are newer to the market and may be less familiar to consumers.
  • Flow Batteries: Flow batteries store energy in a liquid solution. While typically used for large scale storage, advancements are making them more accessible for residential use. They boast a long lifespan and scalability advantages.

Understanding the types of battery systems and their benefits enables homeowners to make informed decisions about integrating them with solar panels, leading to improved energy efficiency, cost savings, and a reduced carbon footprint.

  1. What is the Maintenance and Upkeep of Solar Panels?

Routine Maintenance Requirements

Solar panels are renowned for their durability and low maintenance needs. However, routine maintenance is essential to ensure their efficiency and longevity. Regular tasks include:

  • Cleaning: Keep the panels clean from dust, dirt, and other debris, which can reduce their efficiency. In most regions, rainfall cleans the panels sufficiently, but in areas with little rain, a soft brush or cloth and soapy water may be used to clean the panels a few times a year.
  • Inspection: Perform visual inspections to check for damage or obstructions. Look out for cracks, discoloration, and water accumulation. Ensure the mounting brackets are secure, and trees or other vegetation are not shading the panels.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on the system’s performance through the inverter display or monitoring system. A sudden drop in energy output can indicate a problem.

Long-term Care and Troubleshooting Tips

  • Inverter Maintenance: The inverter, which converts solar energy into electricity you can use, typically requires replacement at least once within the lifespan of the solar panel system. Regularly check the inverter’s error logs for any signs of trouble.
  • Warranty Service: Take advantage of the warranty service offered by your solar panel manufacturer. Many solar panels come with a 20-25 year warranty, and inverters typically have a 10-15 year warranty. Regular servicing under warranty can detect and resolve issues before they become significant problems.
  • Snow and Ice: In colder climates, snow and ice can accumulate on panels. While panels are generally designed to withstand the weight, excessive accumulation may necessitate gentle removal to prevent damage or efficiency loss.
  • Professional Inspections: Consider having a professional inspection every few years, especially after severe weather events. A professional can identify issues that may not be visible to the untrained eye, such as wiring problems or deterioration of panel materials.

By following these guidelines for routine maintenance and long-term care, homeowners can ensure their solar panels continue to produce clean energy efficiently over their 25-30 year lifespan, maximising the investment in renewable energy.

  1. What Can I Do About Feeding Electricity Back to the Grid?

Feeding surplus electricity back to the grid can be a rewarding way for solar panel owners to optimise their solar energy systems while contributing to the energy community. Here’s how to set up and benefit from this practice:

  1. Net Metering Enrolment: The first step is to enrol in a net metering program with your local utility company. Net metering allows you to send unused electricity generated by your solar panels back to the grid in exchange for credits. These credits can offset the cost of power drawn from the grid when your solar system isn’t generating enough to meet your needs.
  2. Understand the Tariffs: Before enrolling in any program, it’s crucial to understand the specific tariffs applied to the electricity you feed back into the grid. These tariffs can vary significantly between different locations and utility providers. Some places offer generous feed-in tariffs that pay you for the excess electricity at a rate higher than what you pay for consumption, making it financially beneficial.
  3. Meter Installation: To feed electricity back to the grid, you’ll need to have a bi-directional meter installed. This meter can measure the flow of electricity in two directions: electricity drawn from the grid and surplus electricity sent back. Your utility company usually handles the installation of such meters.
  4. Optimising Solar Production: To maximise the benefits of feeding electricity back to the grid, consider using more of your solar energy during peak sunlight hours and storing excess in batteries for use during off-peak times. Adjusting your usage can further reduce your reliance on the grid and increase your savings.
  5. Monitoring and Maintenance: Regular monitoring of your system’s performance and maintaining your solar panels in top condition will ensure that you’re maximising the amount of electricity you can feed back to the grid. Pay attention to the performance metrics provided by your inverter and solar monitoring system to make any necessary adjustments.

By effectively setting up your solar panels to feed electricity back to the grid, you can enjoy enhanced benefits from your renewable energy investment. This not only includes reduced utility bills through net metering credits but also the rewarding feeling of contributing to a more sustainable and less carbon-intensive energy system.

  1. Will I Increase My Home’s BER Rating with Solar Panels?

The integration of solar panels into your home’s energy system can have a significant positive impact on your Building Energy Rating (BER). The BER assesses the overall energy efficiency of a building, taking into account factors such as heating, lighting, and insulation. Installing solar panels improves your home’s energy efficiency by reducing the need for conventional electricity derived from fossil fuels, thus potentially enhancing your property’s BER score.

Impact of Solar Panels on Your Home’s BER

  • Reduced Energy Consumption: Solar panels directly decrease the amount of energy you need to draw from the grid, lowering your home’s overall energy consumption.
  • Environmental Benefits: By contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions, solar panels make your home more environmentally friendly, a factor increasingly considered in BER assessments.
  • Sustainable Energy Production: Solar energy is renewable and clean, and utilising it for your home’s energy needs supports sustainable building practices.

Additional Improvements to Enhance BER

To further improve your home’s BER rating alongside the installation of solar panels, consider implementing the following measures:

  • Insulation: Upgrading the insulation in walls, roofs, and floors reduces the need for heating and cooling, thus enhancing energy efficiency.
  • Energy-efficient Windows: Double-glazing or triple-glazing windows can significantly cut down heat loss and gain, contributing to a better BER.
  • LED Lighting: Switching to energy-efficient LED lighting reduces electricity consumption and can improve your home’s energy rating.
  • Heating System Upgrades: Replacing outdated heating systems with more efficient models, such as heat pumps, further decreases energy demand and can improve your BER score.
  • Smart Home Technologies: Incorporating smart home technologies for energy management, including thermostats and automated lighting systems, optimises energy use throughout the home.

By coupling solar panel installation with other energy efficiency improvements, homeowners can achieve a higher BER rating, which not only benefits the environment but can also increase the property value and attractiveness to potential buyers or renters.

  1. Can I Use Solar Panels to Charge My EV?

Utilising solar panels to charge an electric vehicle (EV) is an innovative approach that aligns with the global shift towards renewable energy and sustainable living. This method not only reduces reliance on fossil fuel-based electricity but also significantly lowers the operating costs of EVs. Here’s how you can harness solar power for your electric vehicle:

Integration of Solar Power with EV Charging

  • Direct Charging: Ideally, you can charge your EV directly from the solar panels during daylight hours when solar production is at its peak. This setup may require a solar inverter that is compatible with your EV charging system.
  • Battery Storage: To ensure the flexibility of charging your EV at any time, you can store excess solar energy generated during the day in a home battery system. Later, this stored energy can be used to charge your EV during the evening or on days with minimal sunlight.
  • Grid Connection: For times when solar production is insufficient for charging, you can still opt for grid electricity. Combining solar power and grid electricity optimises charging costs and ensures your EV is ready when needed.

Benefits of Charging Your EV with Solar Panels

  • Cost Efficiency: Once the initial investment is recouped, charging your EV with solar power can significantly reduce the cost per mile compared to using grid electricity, especially if grid electricity rates are high in your area.
  • Environmental Impact: Charging your EV with renewable solar energy minimises your carbon footprint by reducing the demand for electricity generated from fossil fuels.
  • Energy Independence: By using solar panels to charge your EV, you become less dependent on external power sources and fluctuating energy prices, enhancing your household’s energy security.

By integrating solar panels with EV charging, homeowners can take a significant step towards self-sufficiency and sustainable living, leveraging the sun’s power to fuel their daily transportation needs effectively.

  1. Are there Solar Panel Warranties and Insurance in Ireland?

When investing in solar panels in Ireland, understanding the warranties and insurance options available is crucial for protecting your renewable energy investment. Solar panel systems, including the panels themselves and the inverter, come with different types of warranties that safeguard against manufacturing defects, performance issues, and sometimes installation faults.

Overview of Typical Solar Panel Warranties in Ireland

  • Product Warranty: Most solar panel manufacturers offer a product warranty, generally covering 10 to 25 years, that protects against defects in manufacturing and materials.
  • Performance Warranty: In addition to the product warranty, a performance warranty is provided, ensuring that the panels will produce a certain percentage of their original output after a specified number of years, typically 80% after 25 years.
  • Inverter Warranty: The inverter, being a critical component of your solar system, usually comes with a shorter warranty compared to panels, often around 5 to 10 years. Some manufacturers offer extended warranty options.

How to Insure Your Solar System in Ireland

To further protect your investment, considering insurance for your solar panel system is wise, covering potential damages that aren’t included in manufacturer warranties, such as storm damage, theft, or accidental damage.

  • Home Insurance Extension: Many homeowners in Ireland can extend their existing home insurance policy to cover solar panel systems. It’s important to check with your insurer if solar panels are considered permanent fixtures and if additional coverage is necessary.
  • Specialised Renewable Energy Insurance: Some insurance providers offer specialised renewable energy policies that cover all aspects of your solar system, including loss of income due to system downtime, which may be particularly appealing for commercial installations.

Before purchasing solar panels, it’s advisable to thoroughly research and compare the warranty terms offered by different manufacturers and consult with your insurance provider to ensure your system is fully protected against potential risks. This proactive approach will contribute to the longevity and efficiency of your solar energy investment in Ireland.

  1. What are the Potential Pitfalls of a Solar Panel System and How can I Avoid Them?

When investing in a solar panel system, it’s essential to be aware of potential pitfalls to avoid costly mistakes. Here’s how you can mitigate common issues:

Common Installation Issues and How to Mitigate Them

  • Improper Installation: Poorly installed solar panels can result in reduced efficiency and potential damage. To mitigate this, ensure your installer is certified and has a proven track record. Request references and check their previous work.
  • Incorrect Sizing: An incorrectly sized system, whether too large or too small, can significantly impact its efficiency and your return on investment. Work with your installer to accurately calculate your energy needs based on past utility bills and future projections.
  • Shading Issues: Solar panels significantly drop in performance when shaded. Before installation, a professional should assess your property to identify potential shading problems and adjust the panel layout accordingly.
  • Roof Condition: Installing solar panels on a roof that is near the end of its life or structurally unsound can lead to issues. Have your roof inspected and, if necessary, repaired or reinforced before installation.

Importance of Choosing the Right Solar Panel Installer like ePower

Selecting the right Solar Panel installer, such as ePower, is crucial for a successful solar panel installation. A reputable installer will not only ensure that your system is installed correctly and efficiently but also provide valuable advice on the best system for your needs, taking into account your home’s orientation, roof condition, and energy consumption patterns.

  • Certification: Look for installers certified by relevant industry bodies. In Ireland, this might include the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) or internationally recognized certifications such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
  • Experience: Choose an installer with extensive experience specific to solar panel installations. Experienced installers will be able to handle unforeseen issues more effectively and ensure a smooth installation process.
  • Warranty and Aftercare: Ensure the installer offers a solid warranty for their workmanship, in addition to the product warranties provided by the panel manufacturers. Good installers will also offer aftercare services and advise on maintenance and monitoring of your system.

Avoiding these potential pitfalls begins with thorough research and choosing the right partner for your solar panel installation. By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy with peace of mind, knowing that your investment is secure and well-managed.

  1. How can I Determine the Number of Solar Panels for my Roof?

When contemplating the installation of solar panels on your roof, one fundamental question arises: “How many panels can I fit?” The answer varies significantly from property to property, as it is influenced by several critical factors such as roof size, orientation, and potential shading from surrounding trees or buildings. 

Utilising tools like Google Maps, we can provide an initial estimate of the number of panels your roof can accommodate. This aerial view allows us to assess roof dimensions and configurations without the need for an on-site visit. Additionally, examining similar solar installations in your area can offer valuable insights. These comparisons help in understanding how many panels were fitted on roofs similar to yours and their layout, providing a useful benchmark for what might be possible on your own property.

To obtain a precise calculation, a professional assessment by a certified solar installer is recommended. This evaluation will take into account not only the physical space available on your roof but also factors like the roof’s structural integrity, the optimal orientation for sunlight exposure throughout the year, and local regulations or restrictions on solar panel installations.

However, as panel technology has improved and panel sizes have changed then less panels may now fit on the roof than an older install but still produce more!

  1. How can I Estimate the Energy Output from my Solar Panels?

Once the optimal number of solar panels has been determined for your roof, a key question arises: “How much energy will these panels produce?” To address this, we employ specialist technology that enables us to generate an estimated production forecast. This forecast considers several crucial factors, including the orientation of the panels and the specific location of your property.

  • Orientation and Tilt: The direction your solar panels face and their tilt play a significant role in determining the amount of sunlight they capture and, consequently, the energy they produce. Panels that are oriented directly towards the sun for the majority of the day will produce more energy than those in less optimal positions.
  • Location: Your property’s geographical location affects the amount of sunlight your solar panels will receive due to factors such as climate, seasonal variations, and local weather patterns. Areas with higher average sunlight hours will naturally see higher energy production from their solar installations.

Using this technology, we calculate a realistic estimate of the energy your solar panel system is likely to generate over its lifetime. This provides invaluable insight for projecting savings on utility bills and calculating the potential return on investment for your solar energy system. It’s important to note that these estimates are based on historical weather data and the specific details of your installation, offering a personalised projection of your system’s performance.

  1. Does the Orientation of my roof affect the output from the Solar panels?

The orientation of your solar panel system significantly influences its efficiency and energy output. South-facing installations are deemed ideal due to their ability to capture the maximum amount of sunlight throughout the day. 

In contrast, systems installed facing east or west are generally expected to produce approximately 80% of the energy generated by a similarly sized south-facing system. This reduction is due to the panels receiving optimum sunlight for only half of the day. 

North-facing panels are the least efficient, with an expected output of only 50-60% compared to their south-facing counterparts. This decrease is attributable to the lower angle of sunlight reaching the panels, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, where the sun is predominantly in the southern part of the sky. 

Therefore, when planning a solar panel installation, it’s crucial to consider the orientation to maximise energy production and efficiency.


In short, adding solar panels to homes in Ireland is not just about saving energy. It’s a move that not only lowers your carbon footprint but also plays a big part in creating a cleaner and more sustainable future. Homeowners can look forward to lower utility bills and more independence from traditional energy sources, making solar panels a smart choice for those wanting to cut their reliance on non-renewable energy. Thanks to better solar technology and supportive policies from the government, now is the perfect time for Irish homeowners to switch to a greener lifestyle. We urge homeowners to consider solar energy as a step towards a more sustainable way of living, helping to protect the environment for the next generations. Opting for solar energy is more than just a home improvement; it’s an investment in the health of our planet.

Ready to harness the power of the sun and make a positive impact on both your energy bills and the planet? 

Contact ePower today for a no-obligation consultation and personalised estimate. Our team of experts is committed to guiding you through every step of your solar energy journey, from determining the optimal number of solar panels for your roof to estimating your potential energy output and savings. 

With state-of-the-art technology and a deep understanding of solar solutions tailored to Irish homes, ePower is your trusted partner in transitioning to sustainable, renewable energy. Don’t wait to take the first step towards a greener future—get in touch with us now, and let’s begin crafting your solar energy solution together.

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