Turn your home into a renewable power station! We are now offering a grant for Solar Photovoltaic panels for homeowners.

About Solar PV

The term ‘solar panel’ is often used interchangeably to describe the panels that generate electricity and those that generate hot water.

  • Solar panels that produce hot water are known as solar thermal collectors or solar hot water collectors.
  • Solar panels that produce electricity are known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. These panels generate DC electricity when exposed to light.
  • Solar PV is the rooftop solar you see on homes and businesses. PV or photovoltaic solar panels turn daylight into free electricity and provide you with free energy and free electricity to power your TV, kettle, toaster, phone charger, radio, oven and so on.

A domestic solar PV system consists of a number of solar panels mounted to your roof (or in your garden) and connected into the electrical loads within your building. The solar panels generate DC (direct current – like a battery) electricity, which is then converted in an inverter to AC (alternating current – like the electricity in your domestic socket). Solar PV systems are rated in kilowatts (kW). A 1kW solar PV system would require 3 or 4 solar panels on your roof.

Any excess electricity produced can be stored in a battery, or other storage solution like your hot water immersion tank. It can also be exported from your house into the electrical network on your street.

New grant for Solar PV

We are delighted to offer homeowners a grant of up to €3,800 to support the installation of Solar PV panels and battery energy storage systems.

This will reduce the electricity you currently purchase from your supplier and save you money. It is desirable to maximise the amount of solar electricity you use in your home by sizing the solar PV system to meet your demand, and by using energy storage solutions. Support is available to all owners of dwellings built and occupied before 2011.

The grant is available for all new Solar PV installations from Tuesday 31st July 2018.

Find out how much you can save

Grant amounts available

Solar PVBattery Storage System
€700/kWp €1,000

* €700 for every kWp up to max 4kWp. Any installation over 2kWp must install a battery.

The benefits

How to apply

1. Check if you're eligible for the grant

Complete a short questionnaire to check if you are eligible for the scheme. You will receive an email shortly afterwards stating whether you are eligible or not.

2. Appoint a registered SEAI solar PV installer.

If you are eligible, appoint a registered PV installer. Only an installer who is on SEAI’s Renewable Installers Register for Solar PV can certify the installation.

3. Install your solar PV panels

Proceed with your installation. Once the installation is complete, your installer will provide you with the required documentation you need to claim your grant payment.

4. Claim your grant payment

Please ensure you have all the documents you need to claim your grant payment. Our online payment system will open in October. However all solar PV systems installed from Tuesday 31st July will be eligible for payment.

Eligibility Checker

FAQs

Solar PV will generate renewable electricity, which you can use in your home. This will reduce the electricity you currently purchase from your supplier. This reduction in cost from your electricity supplier is a saving directly into your pocket. Solar PV systems are simple to install (typically within a single day), and cause minimal disruption to your home (i.e. no builders work is required). You can calculate the potential payback for solar PV using our calculator.

Solar PV generates renewable electricity, but does not reduce how much energy you use in your home. You should consider other energy efficiency measures in your home, and SEAI provide a wide range of grants for energy efficiency measures such as insulation and heating controls.

This depends on several factors like the direction and accessibility of your roof, your location in the country, and the amount you currently pay for your electricity. Using a typical system of 1.5kWp, you would get a grant of €1,050 and save about €200 a year in electricity. On average this would give a payback of around 9 years. Using a system of 3kWp, you would get a grant of €2,100 and save about €330 a year in electricity. On average this would give a payback of around 13 years.

Please see our Solar PV Payback calculator.

The size of solar PV system will depend on a number of factors, and you should discuss this with potential installers. Your installer should consider the amount of electricity you use in your home, when you use it most during the day, and the size, and orientation, of your roof.

It is desirable to maximise the amount of solar electricity you use in your home, sometimes called ‘self-consumption’. You can do this by sizing the solar PV system to meet your demand, and by using energy storage solutions. Analysis of Irish homes found that 80% of the electricity generated by a 2kW (kilowatt) solar PV system in an average Irish home would be used within the home (self-consumed). With the addition of storage solutions, this could be increased further towards 100%.

Therefore, for solar PV without storage, a system of 2kW or lower is considered optimal for high self-consumption. For systems larger than 2kW, some form of storage should be considered to increase self-consumption.

If you have a well insulated hot water tank (‘immersion’), the best option is to use a diverter to heat hot water with electricity that would otherwise export from your house. This is a very low cost solution, and is considered in the grant support. You should consider your hot water needs in your home, and if you will use the water heated this way.

An emerging solution is the use of a battery storage system. This system will detect when you are exporting energy to the grid, and then will store this energy within a battery within your home. The battery will then feed this stored energy back into your home when you need it next.

If you choose to install a battery to increase the amount of solar electricity you use in your home, there are a few considerations which you should discuss with your installer

Battery rating and capacity:

Battery storage systems are often provided with a power rating in kilowatts (kW). Storage batteries for a grid connected solar PV storage system are around 1kW to 7kW. This is the capability of the battery to charge (from the PV system) and discharge (to the house).

Battery storage system are also provided with a capacity rating in kilowatt-hours (kWh). A battery’s stated electricity capacity is generally larger than the battery’s actual useable capacity, because:

  • all batteries lose some energy in charging and discharging, though some have better ‘charge-discharge efficiency’ than others.
  • most batteries are not designed to be routinely fully discharged. Some have deeper discharge capability than others.

 

Battery lifetime:

A battery’s efficient lifetime depends on the technology and the way the battery is used - on the number of ‘cycles’ that they undergo. Manufacturers generally give an expected lifetime in years and/or in ‘charge-discharge cycles’. For example:

‘Life expectancy = 10 years or 10,000 cycles, whichever is the sooner’

DC and AC coupling:

There are two main ways of linking a battery storage system into such a system:

  • DC Coupled: the batteries are installed on the same side of the solar inverter as the solar PV panels, they charge from the panels, and their DC energy is only converted to AC when it’s used.
  • AC Coupled: the batteries are installed on the grid-side, where the solar PV’s DC has already been converted to AC. A separate inverter converts the AC back to DC for storing in the battery. When the battery discharges, the same separate inverter converts the DC back to AC. This type of battery may allow other functions besides storing solar PV excess electricity, such as storing cheaper night rate electricity to use during the day.

SEAI have structured this grant support based on detailed analysis and research. It is in your interest to increase self-consumption of the generated solar energy in your home, and the grant scheme is tailored to encourage this.

About 80% of generated energy from a 2kW solar PV system would be self-consumed (i.e. used on site) in an average Irish home. Using simple technologies such as a hot water diverter, the ‘excess’ energy can be used to heat water in your home and push self-consumption towards 100%.

For solar PV systems over 2kW, self-consumption drops dramatically for the average Irish home. To increase self-consumption for large PV systems, a more comprehensive storage system is required, i.e. a battery.

This is why the grant scheme is available without energy storage up to 2kW, but in order to receive grant support, battery energy storage is a requirement from 2kW to 4kW.

It is often a complaint that homeowners do not get paid for selling export electricity to the grid. Export payment schemes are not offered (to new customers) by any Irish energy suppliers currently. It is likely that EU directives will change this in the coming years.

From SEAI’s analysis and research it is clear that it is in your best interest to increase self-consumption of the generated solar energy in your home, ideally to 100%, and the grant scheme is tailored to encourage this. It will always be more valuable to use the energy within your home, than any export payment. For solar PV systems with high self-consumption, an export payment has little impact on the payback time of the system.

Therefore, SEAI recommend that you work with your installer to design your PV system (and storage if applicable), to maximise self-consumption in your home.

About 80% of generated energy from a 2kW solar PV system would be self-consumed (i.e. used on site) in an average Irish home. Using simple technologies such as a hot water diverter, the ‘excess’ energy can be used to heat water in your home and push self-consumption towards 100%.

For solar PV systems over 2kW, self-consumption drops dramatically for the average Irish home. To increase self-consumption for large PV systems, a more comprehensive storage system is required, i.e. a battery.

You are eligible for the maximum level of grant available for the system you install. Two examples are given below.

  1. I want to install 3kW of solar PV, but do not want to install a battery: You will get €1400 grant for the initial 2kW of system.
  2. I want to install 6kW, and a battery: You will get €3800 for the initial 4kW of solar PV and the battery system