As the shift towards renewable energy becomes more prominent, more and more homeowners in Ireland are opting to install solar panels on their roof to generate their home’s electricity – and keep their electrical bills down. Residential Solar panels are considered a renewable energy resource because, unlike fossil fuels, they can never be in short supply. In other words, as long as the sun keeps shining, solar panels can convert their energy into electrical power.
Continue reading to learn more about how solar panels work, how much electricity they can produce for your home, and how they can create a safer, cleaner environment for all of Ireland.
How Much Sunlight Does Ireland Get?
While Europe isn’t exactly known for being the Sunshine Capital of the world, Ireland typically experiences between 1,100 and 1,600 hours of sunlight per year. This roughly translates to approximately 45 days of 24-hour sunshine per year. But that doesn’t sound like a lot, right? Because of this, is it enough sun exposure to power up your home all year long? The answer is yes and we explain why below.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar pv panels are made up of photovoltaic cells, which absorb light particles from the sun and convert them into electricity. Interestingly, this phenomenon was discovered back in 1839 by Edmond Becquerel, who was a French physicist. Back then, Becquerel had the idea that a voltage would be able to be generated from shining a light onto an electrode that was covered in a conductive solution. Fortunately, Becquerel was correct (although the process would continue to be refined) and it’s a phenomenon that continues to be popularized to this day.
During the day, solar panels are exposed to sunlight. This exposure is what powers your home during the day. Furthermore, this consistent sun exposure also fills up the solar panels’ battery so it can produce electricity in the evening after the sun has set, so you don’t have to worry about cooking dinner or performing any other tasks in the dark. While pv solar electric panels do not absorb the moonlight, they store enough energy to get you and your family comfortably through the evening.
The great thing about solar panels is that they are multi-faceted. Solar panels not only power your home and appliances but can heat your water, as well. Furthermore, any excess energy will be sent back to the grid, so you’re never consuming more than what you truly need.
Amount of Electricity Produced From Solar Panels
According to data provided by the Commission for Energy Regulation, the average Irish household uses about 4,200 units of electricity per year. The average electric bill in Ireland is €160 every two months. This means that over the course of a year, the average family spends around €960 on electricity alone – that’s a lot of money!
On average, solar panels installation in medium-sized Irish homes will produce about 3,000 units of electricity. This roughly translates to about 60-70% of the total amount of electricity used in the average mid-sized home. With the installation of a solar panel system, the average Irish family could be saving up to €750 per year, as only 30-40% of their electrical consumption would have to come from the grid.
Traditionally speaking, most Irish homes that choose to install solar panels go with a 4kW system. This type of system usually includes 12 solar panels that are installed on the roof.
Does Your Home Qualify for Solar Panel Installation?
In order for solar panels to be effective, there are a few different criteria that should be met and several factors you need to consider. First and foremost, you will most likely not be allowed to install solar panels if you do not own your home unless your landlord agrees to it. Because of this reason, solar panels are recommended for homes that are currently owned as opposed to those that are rented.
Second, you need to consider your home’s location. If your roof is heavily shaded, then a solar panel may not be super effective. While they can still absorb sunlight on cloudy and overcast days, shade provides a major obstacle. Furthermore, you need to consider the shape and age of your roof. In most cases, south-facing roofs that slope at a 15 to 40-degree angle are optimal for solar panel installation.
Environmental Benefits of Solar Panels
As we mentioned above, solar panels are becoming more and more popular due to how eco-friendly they are. Here are some of the top environmental benefits of solar panels:
- They eliminate the use of fossil fuels – Electricity is usually sourced and generated from fossil fuels. When fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas are burned, they release carbon dioxide into the environment. Over time, this has been one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Photovoltaic solar panels mitigate this damage because they don’t consume fossil fuels, meaning they don’t release any harmful contaminants back into the environment.
- They reduce air pollutants – A major advantage of using solar panels is that they drastically reduce the number of air pollutants we’re exposed to each day. According to a study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar panels significantly reduced the number of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases people suffer with. Furthermore, a reduction in air pollutants is better for the environment, as it prevents trees and crops from getting damaged.
- They can help save fish, birds and other wildlife – Fossil fuels can have a negative impact on wildlife. Extraction of these fossil fuels can disrupt and destroy wildlife areas, causing them to become too small to continue to sustain them. As a result of this disruption of landscapes and burning of fossil fuels, birds, fish and plants have been significantly affected.
As Ireland takes continuous steps toward sustainability, the installation of solar panels on Irish homes and businesses has steadily increased. And with these major environmental benefits, it’s no surprise as to why.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
On average, solar panels can last between 30-35 years. Furthermore, solar panels requires minimal maintenance, as both converters and batteries may only have to be changed every 10-15 years. When you install solar panels in your home, it truly is an investment that will benefit you and your family for decades to come.
Schedule a Call With Alternative Energy Ireland to Learn More
As Ireland’s longest renewable energy specialists, the team at Alternative Energy Ireland knows everything there is to know about solar energy and what advantages they have for your home. We believe in the power of sustainability, which is why we’ve made it our mission to power every home in Ireland with renewable resources. We provide a wide array of services not limited to solar panel installation, heat recovery ventilation, and smart heating systems. You can schedule a call with us at 01 4433 996 or by contacting us. We have two offices located in Dublin and Offaly.