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A Guide to Solar Power

What is solar power and why is it important?

Converting light energy from the sun into power is known as solar power. This energy is harnessed by solar panels to produce electricity and heat.

Solar power is key to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. Solar energy is a CO2-free renewable energy source which can dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.

Solar PV panels can be used to power any electrical appliance in your home, so investing in a solar PV system is a smart move toward clean, renewable energy and reduced energy bills. 

How do solar panels work?

The sun provides an abundant, free source of clean energy in the form of natural light and warmth. It is possible to capture some of this free energy from sunlight and convert it into electricity using solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

How does Solar Power work?

Solar PV systems convert light into electrical power. They range in size from a few square centimetres, like on a calculator, to systems of hundreds of square metres made from interconnected modules that form an array. Photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and are absorbed by semiconducting materials, such as silicon. Electrons (negatively charged) are knocked loose from their atoms, allowing them to flow through the material to produce electricity. Due to the special composition of the solar cells within a solar panel, the electrons are only allowed to move in a single direction. An array of solar cells converts solar energy into a usable amount of direct current (DC). The DC is carried through wiring to an Inverter, which converts the current to mains AC (alternating current) which is connected to the property’s main electricity supply.

(NEED A DIAGRAM HERE)

What is the difference between a PV panel and a Solar panel?

Photovoltaic (PV) panels covert thermal energy into electricity, whilst solar panels convert solar radiation into heat. As PV cells only generate a limited amount of energy, numerous cells are connected to create a solar panel. Working together, multiple solar cells generate higher currents and therefore more energy. 

How many different types of solar panels are there?

There are three main types of solar PV panels most commonly found on the Irish market; thin-film PV panels, mono-crystalline, and polycrystalline PV panels.

Harnessing the Irish Sun: Solar Panels in Ireland

Ireland's lush green landscape provides an ideal environment for harnessing solar power. As we seek sustainable alternatives to traditional energy sources, harnessing the power of the sun is a game-changer.

The amount of electricity generated by a Solar PV system varies depending on where it is installed in Ireland. Placing Solar PV panels on a south-facing roof in Ireland at a pitched angle of between 30° and 40° from the horizontal, generally works best to maximise the amount of sunlight available. Irish planning laws state that this no longer needs to be the rear of the house, providing no more than 50% of the roof is covered with panels.

According to figures from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) a domestic solar installation will generate more than 40% of the annual electricity usage demand for a typical Irish household.

Which are better, ground or roof mounted panels?

There are pros and cons to both. Roof-mounted panels tend to be less expensive than ground mounted panels, however not all roofs are suitable. Roof-mounted panels also have the advantage of space utilization. On the other hand, ground-mounted panels offer maximum efficiency and are easier to maintain.

 

What are Solar Inverters?

Solar Inverters are used to convert the Direct Current (DC) energy produced by solar panels into usable Alternate Current (AC) energy to help power homes and commercial buildings. Browse our range of Single Phase Inverters, 3 Phase Inverters and Accessories from leading, innovative manufacturers including Huawei, Growatt, Trannergy & Sonnen. (include link to category page)

 

How long does it take solar or PV panels to charge a battery bank? 

This depends on the size of the panel and voltage of the battery. A 200-watt solar panel that generates 1 amp of current takes between 5-8 hours to completely charge a 12-volt car battery. Other factors such as weather conditions and geographic location will impact charge times.

 

 

A 5KW solar array can generate up to 20KWh on a sunny day which will be more than enough to heat your home and leave enough electricity for everything else. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some of the benefits of installing solar panels in Ireland?

Reduced Energy Bills: Generating your own electricity can significantly reduce your reliance on expensive grid electricity. This translates to lower energy bills, saving you money in the long run.

Solar panel users can also avail of the ‘Clean Export Guarantee’ (CEG). Through this scheme, while most of the energy produced will be used to power your property, when there is surplus electricity from your microgeneration you can export this to the grid and receive a payment for it.

Eco-Friendly Energy: Solar panels produce clean, renewable energy, reducing your carbon footprint and helping combat climate change. In Ireland, transitioning to solar power can have a substantial positive impact on the environment.

Government Incentives: The Irish government provides various incentives and grants to encourage solar panel installations. These incentives make going solar even more financially attractive. Find out more about the grants available here

Energy Independence: Solar panels give you greater control over your energy supply. This means you are less susceptible to energy price fluctuations, enhancing your energy security.

Increased Property Value: Solar panels can enhance the resale value of your property. Potential buyers are often drawn to homes with solar installations due to their energy-efficiency benefits.

Low Maintenance: Solar panels are relatively low maintenance. Regular cleaning and minimal upkeep are usually sufficient to keep them operating efficiently.

Long-Term Investment: Solar panels typically have a long lifespan, often exceeding 25 years. This means your initial investment can pay off for decades to come.

Are solar panels right for me? 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Solar Panels

Getting the most out of your solar panels involves a combination of proper installation, regular maintenance, and smart energy management. By following these tips, you can maximize your solar panel's efficiency, reduce energy costs, and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.

Optimal Placement

Proper placement of solar panels is key. They should be installed in a location with maximum sun exposure throughout the day. South-facing roofs typically receive the most sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, but your installer will help determine the best placement for your specific location.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Having clean solar panels is vital for efficiency. Very little maintenance is required if a well-designed Solar PV system is installed properly. Modules should be checked periodically for obstructions such as leaves, excessive dust/dirt or bird droppings. Build up can generally be cleared by using a water hose or by a heavy rain shower. Use of a pressure washer or detergents is NOT recommended and most build up is cleared naturally by rainfall. Specialist solar panel cleaning companies may be available.

Monitor Performance

Invest in a monitoring system to keep track of your solar panel's performance. This allows you to identify and address any issues promptly, ensuring your system operates optimally over time. This can also have a cost benefit, enabling you to track your usage.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

To maximize your solar energy utilization, consider upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. These consume less electricity, ensuring the energy you have generated will stretch further, saving on cost.

Battery Storage

Adding a solar battery storage system can further enhance your solar panel setup. This allows you to store excess energy generated during the day for use at night, increasing your energy independence.

Time-of-Use (TOU) Plans

Check with your utility company to see if they offer TOU plans. These plans charge varying rates for electricity depending on the time of day. Usage is low at night and highest in the late afternoon, when people return from work and many businesses are still open. By using your solar power during peak times, you can save even more on your energy bills.

Prevent Shading

Trim trees and vegetation that may cast shadows on your solar panels, especially during peak sunlight hours. Shading can significantly impact panel efficiency.

Understand Your Inverter

The inverter is a critical component of your solar panel system. Ensure you understand how it works and monitor it for any issues. Upgrading to a more efficient inverter can also improve overall performance.

Take Advantage of Incentives

Stay informed about government incentives and tax credits for solar energy. These can offset installation costs and increase the ROI of your solar panels. The Irish government provides various incentives and grants to encourage solar panel installations. These incentives make going solar even more financially attractive. Find out more about the grants available here.

Educate Yourself

Continuously educate yourself about solar energy advancements and best practices. Understanding how your system works empowers you to make informed decisions for optimal performance.

 

Can solar panels power a car?

You can charge an electric car with solar energy. You’ll need to install a domestic Solar Photovoltaic System (Solar PV), along with the solar charger for the car battery.

Can I combine a solar panel with an EV charger?

Yes, by combining solar panels with an EV charger, you can use solar energy to power your electric vehicle.

Can you power a food truck with solar panels?

In theory, Yes. Solar panels can be installed on the roof of the truck to capture sunlight, however you must factor in the energy requirements of your truck. The location in which you park your truck is also important as the amount of energy generated is dependent on access to sunlight.

 (CT edit 30/1/24)

How sustainable are solar panels?

According to reports,  as a renewable source of power, solar energy has an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change, which is critical to protecting humans, wildlife, and ecosystems.

The  American Chemical Society maintains that PV (solar) technologies generate far less life-cycle air emissions per GWh [gigawatt hour] than conventional fossil-fuel-based electricity generation” 

If you're ready to take the plunge into clean, renewable energy, consider the numerous benefits that solar panels can bring to your home or business in Ireland. Make the switch today and join the green energy movement sweeping across the Emerald Isle. See the wide range of energy -efficient solar options at www.rexel.ie

Should I choose 12v or 24v solar panels? 

This depends on the amount of energy you want to generate. While 12V may be suitable for smaller energy requirements such as catering vans or charging batteries, 24V panels are better options for offices and apartments.

 

Are there grants for solar panels in Ireland?

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) provides a once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of Solar PV panels for your home. An application must be submitted, and a grant offer received from the SEAI before any solar panel installation takes place. 

Businesses can also avail of grants from the SEAI. These grants are also available to public buildings, sports clubs and community organisations.  Businesses participating in the Exceed Programme can avail of grant aid towards a Solar PV installation and can also claim tax relief through the ACA Scheme when installing a Solar PV system

More information on these grants can be found by visiting SEAI.IE.

What shape roof do you have to have to install solar panels?

Solar PV systems are made up of modules, each typically around 1m x 1.7m. Solar PV systems can be designed to fit virtually any size and shape of roof or can be mounted on frames at ground level. Solar PV can also be mounted vertically and horizontally allowing the system to form part of the wall and roof structures in new properties, although performance will be reduced with these tilts.

Do solar panels increase home value?

Solar panels can increase the value of a home and make it more attractive to potential buyers in addition improving the BER rating.

Can I buy and install solar panels myself?

It is recommended to avail of a qualified professional to install your solar panels. You may be qualified to attempt certain aspects of a solar installation; However, other work (such as electrical work) must only be carried out by a qualified tradesman. Working at heights (to fit panels on a roof) is also something you should not attempt unless you’re fully qualified to do so. In addition, certain SEAI grants are also inaccessible to those attempting self-installation and DIY installation might void warranties on the solar equipment.

Where can I buy cheap solar panels in Ireland?

At Rexel Energy Solutions, we stock all the necessary products required for the installation and commissioning of a solar photovoltaic system. We supply everything you need to get your solar PV system up and running and can deliver throughout Ireland.

Our renewable range includes Solar PV panels from Trina Solar, LG and Winaico, plus micro inverters from enphase, plus many more quality market brands!

How many solar panels do I need?

The number of solar panels you need will depend on your goals. The average household, you’ll need 6 solar panels to put a decent dent in your bills. This will generate around 2,100 kWh per year, or half your electricity needs. Find out more here

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels in Ireland?

According to the government of Ireland, houses, regardless of location, may install unlimited solar panels on their rooftops without any requirement for planning permission (subject to certain conditions).

Exemptions also apply to rooftops of industrial buildings, business premises, community and educational buildings, places of worship, health buildings, libraries, certain public utility sites and farms

Further information can be found here

How long do solar panels last?

The industry standard solar panel lifespan is 25 to 30 years. Most reputable manufacturers offer production warranties for 25 years or more.

Trees and vegetation may grow and cause shade to fall on the module array. This will adversely impact system performance and periodic pruning may be required to ensure that system performance remains optimal.
You can expect them to operate for 25 years or more, although the inverter may need replacing during the lifetime of the modules. Once fitted, your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out from time to time to ensure everything is working properly. This should include documentation covering the main inverter fault signals and key troubleshooting guidance.

 

How do I care for solar panels?

Solar panels are a sustainable and efficient way to generate clean energy, reducing both your electricity bills and carbon footprint. To ensure they function optimally and have a long lifespan, regular care and maintenance are essential. Below, we have laid out a comprehensive guide on how to care for your solar panels.

Regular Cleaning

One of the most important aspects of solar panel maintenance is keeping them clean. Dust, dirt, bird droppings, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of the panels, reducing their efficiency. Here's how to clean them properly:

Frequency- Aim to clean your solar panels at least twice a year. More frequent cleaning may be necessary in dusty or pollen-heavy areas, as well as during bad weather conditions.

Method - Use a soft brush, a gentle detergent, and a hose or bucket of water. Avoid abrasive materials that could scratch the glass.

Safety – Whilst cleaning, ensure your safety by turning off the solar panel system and wearing appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and non-slip shoes.

 

Regular Inspections:

Periodic inspections can help in identifying any potential issues early on. Here's what to look for:

 

Visible Damage - Check for any visible damage, such as cracks or scratches on the solar panels. If you spot any, contact a professional for repairs.

Cable Connections - Inspect the cables for loose connections or damage. Faulty connections can disrupt power generation.

Inverter Functionality - Ensure the inverter is operating properly and displaying the correct information. In the event of any issues, seek professional advice.

Trim Nearby Trees and Vegetation - Overhanging trees or nearby vegetation can cast shadows on your solar panels, reducing their efficiency. Trim branches and foliage that obstruct sunlight.

Pest Control - Birds and other pests may be attracted to your solar panels as potential nesting sites. Install bird deterrents or protective screens to prevent damage.

Monitoring - Invest in a solar panel monitoring system or use the one provided by your installer. Monitoring allows you to track the performance of your panels and quickly identify any issues.

Professional Maintenance - While some maintenance tasks can be performed by homeowners, it's crucial to schedule professional inspections and maintenance at least every 3-5 years. Professionals can identify and address more complex issues.

Extreme Weather Precautions: In areas prone to extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall or hurricanes, take extra precautions. Snow and debris should be cleared promptly, and panels should be well-anchored to withstand strong winds.

Warranty Awareness - Be aware of your solar panel system's warranty terms. Regular maintenance may be a requirement to ensure the validity of your warranty.

Caring for your solar panels is essential to ensure they continue to generate clean energy efficiently for years to come. By following these guidelines, you can maximize your investment in solar energy and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future. Remember that safety should always be a priority, and when in doubt, consult a professional for assistance with maintenance and repairs.

 

 

Do solar panels come with a guarantee?

System guarantees may vary ; manufacturers’ performance guarantees on modern solar PV modules typically last up to 25 years. Standard inverter warranties are up to 10 years but extensions to this are often available. Installers may also offer their own warranties to cover their work.

How much electricity do solar panels generate?

The electricity generation from solar panels in Ireland varies depending on several factors, including location, panel efficiency, and weather conditions. On average, solar panels in Ireland can produce about 900 to 1,100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year for every installed kilowatt peak (kWp) of solar capacity. Here are some key points to consider:

Location - Solar panel performance depends on where you are in Ireland. Areas in the south and southeast receive more sunlight and, therefore, have higher solar potential compared to regions in the northwest.

Panel Efficiency - The efficiency of solar panels plays a significant role. High-efficiency panels can convert more sunlight into electricity, leading to greater energy production.

Orientation and Tilt - Proper orientation (south-facing) and tilt angle of the solar panels can help to maximize energy generation.

Weather - Ireland's weather can unpredictable, affecting panel performance. Modern solar panels are designed to capture diffused light, so they still produce electricity even in overcast conditions.

Seasonal Variations - Solar energy production varies throughout the year due to changing daylight hours and solar angles. Summer months typically yield more electricity than winter months.

System Size - The size of your solar panel installation also matters. Larger systems generate more electricity.

To get a more accurate estimate of how much electricity solar panels can generate at your specific location in Ireland, consider using a solar calculator or consulting with a local solar installer. They can assess your site, panel options, and provide a tailored estimate based on your needs and circumstances.

Do I need solar panel battery storage?

Solar Panel Battery Storage enables you to save any unused solar power for later use.  As your electricity supply and demand requirements will vary throughout your day and year, you will require less electricity sometimes compared to others. With a solar panel battery, this leftover electricity is stored for use at a later date. Without battery storage, the excess power is reverted to the grid.

 

What do kWp and kWh mean?

Solar electricity systems and modules are given a power rating in kilowatts peak (kWp). This is the electrical power which is generated at standard test conditions (Irradiance 1000W/m2, Air Mass 1.5, Cell Temperature 25 degrees).

The total amount of electrical energy the system actually generates in a year is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). This will depend on the system’s orientation, shading and location, as well as the size of the system (in kWp) that you have installed.

A system which is un-shaded, south facing and with a tilt of around 30-40° will generate around 850kWh/kWp per year. The average home uses 4800kWh of electricity per year on lights and appliances. However, an energy efficient home using A rated appliances could use considerably less than this.

 

How many kwh does a solar panel produce per day?

A single solar panel will produce between 1.5-2kw/h or electricity per day, depending on weather conditions, location and efficiency.

 

How do I connect to the grid?

The vast majority of systems are installed in properties with an existing mains electricity supply.

The Solar PV supply feeds into your existing system and the electricity generated is either used in your house or is exported to the grid, depending on how much you are using at the time. In the event of a power cut grid-connected inverters automatically switch off to protect any engineers working on the lines to repair them. Before connecting a PV system the installer will inform ESB Networks, they are responsible for managing the electricity grid in your area.

Can I make money from my solar panels?

Under the Climate Action Plan 2021and the 2020 Programme for Government, Ireland is committed to supporting the development of up to 380MW of installed micro-generation capacity and the implementation of a wider solar strategy to support renewables self-consumption, to contribute to meeting our ambition of up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030.

 

The Micro-generation Support scheme (MSS) delivers a range of measures to support micro-generation (both for self-consumption and for export) in Ireland. Under this scheme, households with a registered microgeneration device to sell any excess electricity back to Ireland’s electricity grid. This payment is known as a Clean Export Guarantee (CEG).

 

Various providers will offer different rate for excess energy generated by your solar panels. More information can be found by visiting the gov.ie website here.

What size solar panel do I need?

When determining the size of solar panel you need, it is important to factor in your household size, available roof space, geographic location and predominant energy source preference. In general , a 5kW system should be sufficient for a family of 4.

What type of home can have solar panels fitted?

The majority of homes can have solar panels installed; however they may not be a viable option for some older homes. Your installer can advise on the number, location and viability of solar panels required for your home.

Do solar panels affect house insurance?

Most insurance companies in Ireland do not charge extra for homes with solar panels and may even offer discounts. They are often considered to be a permanent fixture so can come under your building insurance, however, it’s always important to check. It is important to notify your insurance company if you install solar panels, as they may need to adjust your policy to reflect the increased value of your home.

How much do solar panels cost in Ireland?

The cost of installing solar panels in Ireland varies between €5,000-€18,000. This cost depends on the size and type of panel and the installation fees. The number of panels installed, and location of these panels also impacts on cost. Savings on energy and maintenance costs should see this investment being repaid within 8 -10 years.

 

How can Rexel Ireland help with my solar energy needs?

Thanks to our dedicated renewables division, Rexel Energy Solutions Ireland, our unique relationships with leading suppliers and our nationwide branch network, your local Kellihers/CT Electric branch can supply everything you need for any size Solar PV project. You’ll find a wide range of Solar PV modules, mounting systems, inverters, accessories and kits in stock/available to order at your local branch, coupled with unparalleled renewable energy expertise.  At Kellihers/CT Electric you have convenient access to everything you need for all of your residential and commercial Solar PV projects.

Rexel Energy Solutions stock a variety of high quality solar modules for commercial, industrial or domestic use. We stock everything to install and commission your photovoltaic (PV) modules, including roofing installation kits, DC to AC inverters, and performance monitors.

We can design and pack kits to help your new-build project comply with Part L building regulations, or to retrofit homes with Solar PV systems – and because we can supply PV modules right up to the highest power classes – you can achieve maximum output with less PV panels when you use Rexel.

We back our quality with strong business partners and leading manufacturers.

Our variety solar modules offer you a choice between different types of photovoltaic solar panel, power and performance warranties, and PV panel aesthetics. Your choice of solar module may depend on budget, space and preference.

All Solar PV modules go through our own rigorous due diligence checks to ensure correct agreement certification, accreditation and approvals, and country of origin checks.

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What is solar power and why is it important?

Converting light energy from the sun into power is known as solar power. This energy is harnessed by solar panels to produce electricity and heat.

Solar power is key to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. Solar energy is a CO2-free renewable energy source which can dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.

Solar PV panels can be used to power any electrical appliance in your home, so investing in a solar PV system is a smart move toward clean, renewable energy and reduced energy bills. 

How do solar panels work?

The sun provides an abundant, free source of clean energy in the form of natural light and warmth. It is possible to capture some of this free energy from sunlight and convert it into electricity using solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

How does Solar Power work?

Solar PV systems convert light into electrical power. They range in size from a few square centimetres, like on a calculator, to systems of hundreds of square metres made from interconnected modules that form an array. Photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and are absorbed by semiconducting materials, such as silicon. Electrons (negatively charged) are knocked loose from their atoms, allowing them to flow through the material to produce electricity. Due to the special composition of the solar cells within a solar panel, the electrons are only allowed to move in a single direction. An array of solar cells converts solar energy into a usable amount of direct current (DC). The DC is carried through wiring to an Inverter, which converts the current to mains AC (alternating current) which is connected to the property’s main electricity supply.

(NEED A DIAGRAM HERE)

What is the difference between a PV panel and a Solar panel?

Photovoltaic (PV) panels covert thermal energy into electricity, whilst solar panels convert solar radiation into heat. As PV cells only generate a limited amount of energy, numerous cells are connected to create a solar panel. Working together, multiple solar cells generate higher currents and therefore more energy. 

How many different types of solar panels are there?

There are three main types of solar PV panels most commonly found on the Irish market; thin-film PV panels, mono-crystalline, and polycrystalline PV panels.

Harnessing the Irish Sun: Solar Panels in Ireland

Ireland's lush green landscape provides an ideal environment for harnessing solar power. As we seek sustainable alternatives to traditional energy sources, harnessing the power of the sun is a game-changer.

The amount of electricity generated by a Solar PV system varies depending on where it is installed in Ireland. Placing Solar PV panels on a south-facing roof in Ireland at a pitched angle of between 30° and 40° from the horizontal, generally works best to maximise the amount of sunlight available. Irish planning laws state that this no longer needs to be the rear of the house, providing no more than 50% of the roof is covered with panels.

According to figures from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) a domestic solar installation will generate more than 40% of the annual electricity usage demand for a typical Irish household.

Which are better, ground or roof mounted panels?

There are pros and cons to both. Roof-mounted panels tend to be less expensive than ground mounted panels, however not all roofs are suitable. Roof-mounted panels also have the advantage of space utilization. On the other hand, ground-mounted panels offer maximum efficiency and are easier to maintain.

 

What are Solar Inverters?

Solar Inverters are used to convert the Direct Current (DC) energy produced by solar panels into usable Alternate Current (AC) energy to help power homes and commercial buildings. Browse our range of Single Phase Inverters, 3 Phase Inverters and Accessories from leading, innovative manufacturers including Huawei, Growatt, Trannergy & Sonnen. (include link to category page)

 

How long does it take solar or PV panels to charge a battery bank? 

This depends on the size of the panel and voltage of the battery. A 200-watt solar panel that generates 1 amp of current takes between 5-8 hours to completely charge a 12-volt car battery. Other factors such as weather conditions and geographic location will impact charge times.

 

 

A 5KW solar array can generate up to 20KWh on a sunny day which will be more than enough to heat your home and leave enough electricity for everything else. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some of the benefits of installing solar panels in Ireland?

Reduced Energy Bills: Generating your own electricity can significantly reduce your reliance on expensive grid electricity. This translates to lower energy bills, saving you money in the long run.

Solar panel users can also avail of the ‘Clean Export Guarantee’ (CEG). Through this scheme, while most of the energy produced will be used to power your property, when there is surplus electricity from your microgeneration you can export this to the grid and receive a payment for it.

Eco-Friendly Energy: Solar panels produce clean, renewable energy, reducing your carbon footprint and helping combat climate change. In Ireland, transitioning to solar power can have a substantial positive impact on the environment.

Government Incentives: The Irish government provides various incentives and grants to encourage solar panel installations. These incentives make going solar even more financially attractive. Find out more about the grants available here

Energy Independence: Solar panels give you greater control over your energy supply. This means you are less susceptible to energy price fluctuations, enhancing your energy security.

Increased Property Value: Solar panels can enhance the resale value of your property. Potential buyers are often drawn to homes with solar installations due to their energy-efficiency benefits.

Low Maintenance: Solar panels are relatively low maintenance. Regular cleaning and minimal upkeep are usually sufficient to keep them operating efficiently.

Long-Term Investment: Solar panels typically have a long lifespan, often exceeding 25 years. This means your initial investment can pay off for decades to come.

Are solar panels right for me? 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Solar Panels

Getting the most out of your solar panels involves a combination of proper installation, regular maintenance, and smart energy management. By following these tips, you can maximize your solar panel's efficiency, reduce energy costs, and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.

Optimal Placement

Proper placement of solar panels is key. They should be installed in a location with maximum sun exposure throughout the day. South-facing roofs typically receive the most sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, but your installer will help determine the best placement for your specific location.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Having clean solar panels is vital for efficiency. Very little maintenance is required if a well-designed Solar PV system is installed properly. Modules should be checked periodically for obstructions such as leaves, excessive dust/dirt or bird droppings. Build up can generally be cleared by using a water hose or by a heavy rain shower. Use of a pressure washer or detergents is NOT recommended and most build up is cleared naturally by rainfall. Specialist solar panel cleaning companies may be available.

Monitor Performance

Invest in a monitoring system to keep track of your solar panel's performance. This allows you to identify and address any issues promptly, ensuring your system operates optimally over time. This can also have a cost benefit, enabling you to track your usage.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

To maximize your solar energy utilization, consider upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. These consume less electricity, ensuring the energy you have generated will stretch further, saving on cost.

Battery Storage

Adding a solar battery storage system can further enhance your solar panel setup. This allows you to store excess energy generated during the day for use at night, increasing your energy independence.

Time-of-Use (TOU) Plans

Check with your utility company to see if they offer TOU plans. These plans charge varying rates for electricity depending on the time of day. Usage is low at night and highest in the late afternoon, when people return from work and many businesses are still open. By using your solar power during peak times, you can save even more on your energy bills.

Prevent Shading

Trim trees and vegetation that may cast shadows on your solar panels, especially during peak sunlight hours. Shading can significantly impact panel efficiency.

Understand Your Inverter

The inverter is a critical component of your solar panel system. Ensure you understand how it works and monitor it for any issues. Upgrading to a more efficient inverter can also improve overall performance.

Take Advantage of Incentives

Stay informed about government incentives and tax credits for solar energy. These can offset installation costs and increase the ROI of your solar panels. The Irish government provides various incentives and grants to encourage solar panel installations. These incentives make going solar even more financially attractive. Find out more about the grants available here.

Educate Yourself

Continuously educate yourself about solar energy advancements and best practices. Understanding how your system works empowers you to make informed decisions for optimal performance.

 

Can solar panels power a car?

You can charge an electric car with solar energy. You’ll need to install a domestic Solar Photovoltaic System (Solar PV), along with the solar charger for the car battery.

Can I combine a solar panel with an EV charger?

Yes, by combining solar panels with an EV charger, you can use solar energy to power your electric vehicle.

Can you power a food truck with solar panels?

In theory, Yes. Solar panels can be installed on the roof of the truck to capture sunlight, however you must factor in the energy requirements of your truck. The location in which you park your truck is also important as the amount of energy generated is dependent on access to sunlight.

 (CT edit 30/1/24)

How sustainable are solar panels?

According to reports,  as a renewable source of power, solar energy has an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change, which is critical to protecting humans, wildlife, and ecosystems.

The  American Chemical Society maintains that PV (solar) technologies generate far less life-cycle air emissions per GWh [gigawatt hour] than conventional fossil-fuel-based electricity generation” 

If you're ready to take the plunge into clean, renewable energy, consider the numerous benefits that solar panels can bring to your home or business in Ireland. Make the switch today and join the green energy movement sweeping across the Emerald Isle. See the wide range of energy -efficient solar options at www.rexel.ie

Should I choose 12v or 24v solar panels? 

This depends on the amount of energy you want to generate. While 12V may be suitable for smaller energy requirements such as catering vans or charging batteries, 24V panels are better options for offices and apartments.

 

Are there grants for solar panels in Ireland?

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) provides a once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of Solar PV panels for your home. An application must be submitted, and a grant offer received from the SEAI before any solar panel installation takes place. 

Businesses can also avail of grants from the SEAI. These grants are also available to public buildings, sports clubs and community organisations.  Businesses participating in the Exceed Programme can avail of grant aid towards a Solar PV installation and can also claim tax relief through the ACA Scheme when installing a Solar PV system

More information on these grants can be found by visiting SEAI.IE.

What shape roof do you have to have to install solar panels?

Solar PV systems are made up of modules, each typically around 1m x 1.7m. Solar PV systems can be designed to fit virtually any size and shape of roof or can be mounted on frames at ground level. Solar PV can also be mounted vertically and horizontally allowing the system to form part of the wall and roof structures in new properties, although performance will be reduced with these tilts.

Do solar panels increase home value?

Solar panels can increase the value of a home and make it more attractive to potential buyers in addition improving the BER rating.

Can I buy and install solar panels myself?

It is recommended to avail of a qualified professional to install your solar panels. You may be qualified to attempt certain aspects of a solar installation; However, other work (such as electrical work) must only be carried out by a qualified tradesman. Working at heights (to fit panels on a roof) is also something you should not attempt unless you’re fully qualified to do so. In addition, certain SEAI grants are also inaccessible to those attempting self-installation and DIY installation might void warranties on the solar equipment.

Where can I buy cheap solar panels in Ireland?

At Rexel Energy Solutions, we stock all the necessary products required for the installation and commissioning of a solar photovoltaic system. We supply everything you need to get your solar PV system up and running and can deliver throughout Ireland.

Our renewable range includes Solar PV panels from Trina Solar, LG and Winaico, plus micro inverters from enphase, plus many more quality market brands!

How many solar panels do I need?

The number of solar panels you need will depend on your goals. The average household, you’ll need 6 solar panels to put a decent dent in your bills. This will generate around 2,100 kWh per year, or half your electricity needs. Find out more here

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels in Ireland?

According to the government of Ireland, houses, regardless of location, may install unlimited solar panels on their rooftops without any requirement for planning permission (subject to certain conditions).

Exemptions also apply to rooftops of industrial buildings, business premises, community and educational buildings, places of worship, health buildings, libraries, certain public utility sites and farms

Further information can be found here

How long do solar panels last?

The industry standard solar panel lifespan is 25 to 30 years. Most reputable manufacturers offer production warranties for 25 years or more.

Trees and vegetation may grow and cause shade to fall on the module array. This will adversely impact system performance and periodic pruning may be required to ensure that system performance remains optimal.
You can expect them to operate for 25 years or more, although the inverter may need replacing during the lifetime of the modules. Once fitted, your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out from time to time to ensure everything is working properly. This should include documentation covering the main inverter fault signals and key troubleshooting guidance.

 

How do I care for solar panels?

Solar panels are a sustainable and efficient way to generate clean energy, reducing both your electricity bills and carbon footprint. To ensure they function optimally and have a long lifespan, regular care and maintenance are essential. Below, we have laid out a comprehensive guide on how to care for your solar panels.

Regular Cleaning

One of the most important aspects of solar panel maintenance is keeping them clean. Dust, dirt, bird droppings, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of the panels, reducing their efficiency. Here's how to clean them properly:

Frequency- Aim to clean your solar panels at least twice a year. More frequent cleaning may be necessary in dusty or pollen-heavy areas, as well as during bad weather conditions.

Method - Use a soft brush, a gentle detergent, and a hose or bucket of water. Avoid abrasive materials that could scratch the glass.

Safety – Whilst cleaning, ensure your safety by turning off the solar panel system and wearing appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and non-slip shoes.

 

Regular Inspections:

Periodic inspections can help in identifying any potential issues early on. Here's what to look for:

 

Visible Damage - Check for any visible damage, such as cracks or scratches on the solar panels. If you spot any, contact a professional for repairs.

Cable Connections - Inspect the cables for loose connections or damage. Faulty connections can disrupt power generation.

Inverter Functionality - Ensure the inverter is operating properly and displaying the correct information. In the event of any issues, seek professional advice.

Trim Nearby Trees and Vegetation - Overhanging trees or nearby vegetation can cast shadows on your solar panels, reducing their efficiency. Trim branches and foliage that obstruct sunlight.

Pest Control - Birds and other pests may be attracted to your solar panels as potential nesting sites. Install bird deterrents or protective screens to prevent damage.

Monitoring - Invest in a solar panel monitoring system or use the one provided by your installer. Monitoring allows you to track the performance of your panels and quickly identify any issues.

Professional Maintenance - While some maintenance tasks can be performed by homeowners, it's crucial to schedule professional inspections and maintenance at least every 3-5 years. Professionals can identify and address more complex issues.

Extreme Weather Precautions: In areas prone to extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall or hurricanes, take extra precautions. Snow and debris should be cleared promptly, and panels should be well-anchored to withstand strong winds.

Warranty Awareness - Be aware of your solar panel system's warranty terms. Regular maintenance may be a requirement to ensure the validity of your warranty.

Caring for your solar panels is essential to ensure they continue to generate clean energy efficiently for years to come. By following these guidelines, you can maximize your investment in solar energy and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future. Remember that safety should always be a priority, and when in doubt, consult a professional for assistance with maintenance and repairs.

 

 

Do solar panels come with a guarantee?

System guarantees may vary ; manufacturers’ performance guarantees on modern solar PV modules typically last up to 25 years. Standard inverter warranties are up to 10 years but extensions to this are often available. Installers may also offer their own warranties to cover their work.

How much electricity do solar panels generate?

The electricity generation from solar panels in Ireland varies depending on several factors, including location, panel efficiency, and weather conditions. On average, solar panels in Ireland can produce about 900 to 1,100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year for every installed kilowatt peak (kWp) of solar capacity. Here are some key points to consider:

Location - Solar panel performance depends on where you are in Ireland. Areas in the south and southeast receive more sunlight and, therefore, have higher solar potential compared to regions in the northwest.

Panel Efficiency - The efficiency of solar panels plays a significant role. High-efficiency panels can convert more sunlight into electricity, leading to greater energy production.

Orientation and Tilt - Proper orientation (south-facing) and tilt angle of the solar panels can help to maximize energy generation.

Weather - Ireland's weather can unpredictable, affecting panel performance. Modern solar panels are designed to capture diffused light, so they still produce electricity even in overcast conditions.

Seasonal Variations - Solar energy production varies throughout the year due to changing daylight hours and solar angles. Summer months typically yield more electricity than winter months.

System Size - The size of your solar panel installation also matters. Larger systems generate more electricity.

To get a more accurate estimate of how much electricity solar panels can generate at your specific location in Ireland, consider using a solar calculator or consulting with a local solar installer. They can assess your site, panel options, and provide a tailored estimate based on your needs and circumstances.

Do I need solar panel battery storage?

Solar Panel Battery Storage enables you to save any unused solar power for later use.  As your electricity supply and demand requirements will vary throughout your day and year, you will require less electricity sometimes compared to others. With a solar panel battery, this leftover electricity is stored for use at a later date. Without battery storage, the excess power is reverted to the grid.

 

What do kWp and kWh mean?

Solar electricity systems and modules are given a power rating in kilowatts peak (kWp). This is the electrical power which is generated at standard test conditions (Irradiance 1000W/m2, Air Mass 1.5, Cell Temperature 25 degrees).

The total amount of electrical energy the system actually generates in a year is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). This will depend on the system’s orientation, shading and location, as well as the size of the system (in kWp) that you have installed.

A system which is un-shaded, south facing and with a tilt of around 30-40° will generate around 850kWh/kWp per year. The average home uses 4800kWh of electricity per year on lights and appliances. However, an energy efficient home using A rated appliances could use considerably less than this.

 

How many kwh does a solar panel produce per day?

A single solar panel will produce between 1.5-2kw/h or electricity per day, depending on weather conditions, location and efficiency.

 

How do I connect to the grid?

The vast majority of systems are installed in properties with an existing mains electricity supply.

The Solar PV supply feeds into your existing system and the electricity generated is either used in your house or is exported to the grid, depending on how much you are using at the time. In the event of a power cut grid-connected inverters automatically switch off to protect any engineers working on the lines to repair them. Before connecting a PV system the installer will inform ESB Networks, they are responsible for managing the electricity grid in your area.

Can I make money from my solar panels?

Under the Climate Action Plan 2021and the 2020 Programme for Government, Ireland is committed to supporting the development of up to 380MW of installed micro-generation capacity and the implementation of a wider solar strategy to support renewables self-consumption, to contribute to meeting our ambition of up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030.

 

The Micro-generation Support scheme (MSS) delivers a range of measures to support micro-generation (both for self-consumption and for export) in Ireland. Under this scheme, households with a registered microgeneration device to sell any excess electricity back to Ireland’s electricity grid. This payment is known as a Clean Export Guarantee (CEG).

 

Various providers will offer different rate for excess energy generated by your solar panels. More information can be found by visiting the gov.ie website here.

What size solar panel do I need?

When determining the size of solar panel you need, it is important to factor in your household size, available roof space, geographic location and predominant energy source preference. In general , a 5kW system should be sufficient for a family of 4.

What type of home can have solar panels fitted?

The majority of homes can have solar panels installed; however they may not be a viable option for some older homes. Your installer can advise on the number, location and viability of solar panels required for your home.

Do solar panels affect house insurance?

Most insurance companies in Ireland do not charge extra for homes with solar panels and may even offer discounts. They are often considered to be a permanent fixture so can come under your building insurance, however, it’s always important to check. It is important to notify your insurance company if you install solar panels, as they may need to adjust your policy to reflect the increased value of your home.

How much do solar panels cost in Ireland?

The cost of installing solar panels in Ireland varies between €5,000-€18,000. This cost depends on the size and type of panel and the installation fees. The number of panels installed, and location of these panels also impacts on cost. Savings on energy and maintenance costs should see this investment being repaid within 8 -10 years.

 

How can Rexel Ireland help with my solar energy needs?

Thanks to our dedicated renewables division, Rexel Energy Solutions Ireland, our unique relationships with leading suppliers and our nationwide branch network, your local Kellihers/CT Electric branch can supply everything you need for any size Solar PV project. You’ll find a wide range of Solar PV modules, mounting systems, inverters, accessories and kits in stock/available to order at your local branch, coupled with unparalleled renewable energy expertise.  At Kellihers/CT Electric you have convenient access to everything you need for all of your residential and commercial Solar PV projects.

Rexel Energy Solutions stock a variety of high quality solar modules for commercial, industrial or domestic use. We stock everything to install and commission your photovoltaic (PV) modules, including roofing installation kits, DC to AC inverters, and performance monitors.

We can design and pack kits to help your new-build project comply with Part L building regulations, or to retrofit homes with Solar PV systems – and because we can supply PV modules right up to the highest power classes – you can achieve maximum output with less PV panels when you use Rexel.

We back our quality with strong business partners and leading manufacturers.

Our variety solar modules offer you a choice between different types of photovoltaic solar panel, power and performance warranties, and PV panel aesthetics. Your choice of solar module may depend on budget, space and preference.

All Solar PV modules go through our own rigorous due diligence checks to ensure correct agreement certification, accreditation and approvals, and country of origin checks.