Generate your own clean energy! We are now offering a grant for Solar Photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for homeowners.

The benefits

Rebate for Solar PV

We are delighted to offer homeowners a rebate 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.

Eligibility

Support is available to all owners of dwellings built and occupied before 2011 and where SEAI have not previously provided support for solar PV system at that address.

Payback estimate

The payback period depends on

  • Upfront costs
  • Maintenance of the panels
  • Amount of sun falling on the panels (South facing panels will produce the most electricity)
  • Price paid for the electricity

The typical cost is €1,700 - €2,500 per kWp

Find out how much you can save

Rebate amounts available

Solar PVBattery Storage System

€700/kWp

up to 2kWp (6-7panels) or up to 4 kWp for larger systems with a battery

€1,000

(systems over 2 kWp)

Battery energy storage systems are also covered. They are used for larger solar PV systems, so that the excess electricity generated during daytime hours can be used at another time. This is a newer technology and recommended to be only installed in certain suitable homes.

Find a registered Installer

Considerations

When to invest

Before considering an investment in solar technologies, it is also important to assess the energy performance of the whole home. We recommend the following approach to improve the comfort of your home and reduce your carbon footprint:

  1. Ensure your home has a good energy performance rating (BER). This means insulating walls, attic and ensuring that you have good double or triple glazed windows.
  2. Upgrade your heating system by installing a heat pump.
  3. Consider Solar PV or Solar Thermal.

Planning

Generally, you will not need planning permission for solar panels taking up less than 50% of the total area of the roof (approx a 6-panel system). Ask your local authority for guidance about planning permission if:

  • Your system is larger than 6 panels or 2kW
  • Your home is a protected structure
  • You home is located in a protected area, for example, an architectural conservation area

Roof orientation

  • The most suitable roof is south facing and generates the most electricity. However any roof in good condition with no shading could work well. Shadows on solar panels can greatly reduce their ability to generate electricity, especially those caused by objects less than 10 metres from the panels.
  • Solar panels are expected to last over 20 years. Your Installer should check that your roof is in good condition for a PV system.
  • Installing solar panels on your roof will typically mean that additional timber roof support needs to be added to you roof. The solar panel racking system is attached to these new timber supports.
On average, a solar PV system can save between €200-300 per year on your domestic electric bill.

How to apply

1. Find and appoint a registered SEAI solar PV company

Get quotes from a couple of registered companies. Choose and appoint a company and agree a formal contract with them to get the works done.

2. Apply to ESB Networks to connect the Solar PV system to the electricity network

Your Installer must apply to ESB Networks before installing a Solar PV system. This application process takes at least 4 weeks (20 working days).

3. Install your solar PV panels

Get your solar PV system installed and either pay the installer or arrange a payment agreement.

4. Get a post-works BER

A post works BER is required and the cost is included in the grant amount.

5. Claim your payment

Create an online account and complete the online claims request. You will need to provide details of the installation (size kW, MPRN, address).

6. Solar PV company submit evidence of works to SEAI

Your solar PV company will give you the documentation related to your installation and they will submit copies to SEAI electronically.

7. SEAI process the claim

Due to the popularity of this scheme please allow up to 6 weeks for payment, with additional time if an inspection is required.

Claim your payment

What is Solar Photovoltaics? (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 electricity are known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. These panels generate electricity when exposed to light. Solar PV is the rooftop solar you see on homes and businesses.
  • Solar panels that produce hot water are known as solar thermal collectors or solar hot water collectors.

The Solar electricity grant focuses on PV, where solar electric panels capture the light from the sun and convert it into the electricity that is used in your home to power your TV, kettle, toaster, phone charger, radio, oven, and so on.

Installation of domestic solar PV system

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.

Generating electricity from solar PV

A solar electric system (PV) is typically made up of:

  • Solar panels on the roof, which generate DC (direct current – like in a battery).
  • An ‘Inverter’ which converts this to AC (alternating current – like the electricity in your house socket).
  • Sometimes a battery on larger systems to save energy for later use.

Solar PV systems generate electricity during daylight hours only, predominately around the middle of the day. In Ireland, around 75% is produced from May to September. If this electricity is not used in the home it is exported to the grid.

It is desirable to maximise the amount of solar electricity you use in your home. You can do this by sizing the solar PV system to meet your demand.

We have structured our grant based on detailed analysis and research. It is in your interest to increase the amount of solar electricity you use in your home. However, there will be a trade-off between reducing the amount of excess energy exported to the grid and the additional costs for batteries or other energy storage systems.

What Solar PV system will suit my needs?

Size

The size of the Solar PV system you purchase will depend on a number of factors,

  • Amount of electricity you use in your home
  • Time of day you are at home
  • Orientation of your roof

Your selected installer should discuss all of the above factors with you. Your installer will also check your current and past electricity consumption to calculate the appropriate system size.

Financial benefits

To understand the financial benefits, you should consider

  • Payback period cost of installation
  • Reduction in electricity required from utility provider 
Research shows that 80% of the electricity produced by a 2kW (kilowatt) solar PV system (6-7 solar panels) would be used within the average Irish home.

FAQs

The panels 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.

Other grant options

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