There are multiple benefits for going solar, such as enjoying advantages like hot water and a reduction in your electricity bill of 50%. Avoid the rising energy costs in addition to increasing the value of your property. At the end of the day, going solar is one of the best investments you can make. Most solar panels see a return investment of 20 percent or more, with most systems paying for themselves multiple times over the course of their decades long lifespan. However, the biggest force behind the solar boom has always been the aim of protecting the environment.
Out with the Old and in with the New
Most of electricity used today is produced by burning fossil fuels which releases high amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Pollution caused by producing electricity is a huge contributor to global warming. In Ireland, we rely heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas to run our homes. Therefore, solar panels are a huge combatant to help us reduce carbon emissions.
Fossil fuels are on the way out. In 2020. for the first time ever, renewable energy sources provided more power in Europe than fossil fuels. Although, the two were still close, experts believe that renewable energy sources will continue growing rapidly, especially due to the price of developing renewables is dropping.
Solar Panels Explained
The term ‘solar panel’ is often used interchangeably to describe the panels that generate electricity, in addition to those that generate hot water.
- Solar panels that generate hot water are known as solar thermal collectors.
- Solar panels that generate electricity are known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules.
There are two groups of technologies which generate electricity from light. PV technologies are best suited for Ireland’s climate.
Solar Photovoltaics (solar PV)
These are the most common solar technologies, used worldwide. They are also the fastest growing in terms of installed capacity.
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
These technologies produce electricity by focussing sunlight to produce heat and drive an engine connected to an electrical generator. These are found in countries with year-round sunshine.
How long do Solar Panels last for?
Solar panels usually last somewhere between 20-30 years. This does not mean that solar panels will stop generating electricity after this timeframe, but rather their efficiency will significantly reduce.
Can I sell my electricity to the grid?
There is a likelihood of receiving payments for the surplus energy generated. This is possible when your system is connected to the company’s power grid or even the national grid. If you generate more electricity than you require, the extra energy is sent to the grid, and you’re compensated.
Unfortunately, there are currently no energy suppliers who will pay you for the electricity you generate and export to the grid in Ireland. It is likely the EU directive will change this in the coming year, as solar is becoming increasingly popular.
Feed in Tariffs (FIT) will be available from mid 2021 as per EU directive. However, the value per kWh is still unknown and the unofficial launch date for roll-out and compliance is June. Considering it has already bypassed June, we will have to wait to hear more.
How long does it take to install?
Ideally, it should not take any longer than a day to install after the initial inspection by contractors.
- Among all the benefits of solar panels, the most prominent thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. We cannot run out of solar power, unlike some of the other non-renewable sources of energy. Solar energy will be accessible for as long as we have the sun.
- Solar panels allow you to reduce your reliance on the grid, as you are generating your own electricity. By going solar, you are eliminating 50 percent of your electricity bill, this is the most notable benefit. However, how much you save on your bill will be dependent on the size of the solar system and the electricity or heat usage.
- Solar energy systems generally do not require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple times a year would do the job. You can expect very little spending on maintenance and repair work.
- Technology in the solar industry is always improving and advancing. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels.
- Installing solar panels enables you to make your home more sustainable, in addition to future proofing your home. You can increase your BER rating depending on the size of the system you install. All these incentives combined make your property more valuable. Potential buyers will find your property more attractive because the buyer can see the savings.