Solar Energy

The sun powers natural cycles such as the the wind and water flow, and helps sustain life on the planet (e.g. plant growth). The sun is also a source of heat and light which is often taken for granted. Today, we are able to harness the sun's energy and use it to help heat our buildings, our water, and also to produce electricity for our buildings.


The energy falling on the surface of the earth from the sun is actually much greater than the amount of energy we use, or can use. Solar energy is reasonably predictable, and is not associated with any environmental risk.

There are two main ways that solar energy is used in our buildings :

1. Solar Heat 2. Solar Electricity

It is worth noting that Solar light (light from the sun), which we take most for granted can also be exploited in building design to even further minimise the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours.


Solar Heat

Solar Electricity

The sun is a source of free heat which can be used in our buildings for heating and hot water. When we use solar heat to its full potential in our buildings, we significatly reduce our overall reliance on fossil fuels. The lower the energy requirement of the building in the first place, the more substantial the contribution from solar heat will be. For other demands such as hot water, which does not vary much seasonally, then solar can make a considerable contribution to the overall hot water demand.The sun is a source of free energy which can be used to produce electricity as well as heat. The production of solar electricity relies on active solar technology. The most commonly encountered system for solar electricity production is solar photovoltaic (see solar electricity technologies section). Other systems, such as concentrating solar thermal plants, whose primary output is heat, can also be used by producing steam to generate electricity using a turbine.
More about Solar HeatMore about Solar Electricty


Solar Policy & Funding

Info Resources

This section describes how solar technologies fit into the legislative framework in Ireland, the support mechanisms in place, and also the various product databases that exist relating to solar technologies.

This section describes various resources, both produced by SEAI and external resources in the following areas :

Solar PV Info / Resources
Solar Thermal Info / Resources
Passive Solar / Low Energy Buildings Info / ResourcesSolar R&D Info / Resources

More about Solar Policy and FundingMore about Solar Resources



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