Rooftop solar panels could produce 22 per cent of Dublin’s household electricity

by Rachel Cunningham
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Newly published research has indicated the significant potential for rooftop solar panel use in Dublin. 

The study by MaREI, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, based in University College Cork (UCC), found that domestic rooftop solar panels could produce sufficient electricity to power a quarter of Irish homes. 

An estimated 24,000 homes have already begun the transition to solar but this report highlights the potential for for many more across the country. 

The study, which was commissioned by the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA), reported that 247,957 homes in Dublin have roof space and orientation suitable for ten solar panels (3.4KW), meaning that if all suitable homes in the county were to avail of this opportunity, it would fulfil 22 per cent of the county’s residential electricity demand. 

Nationwide, there are overall a million homes that could accommodate ten solar panels. This has potential to meet eight per cent of the country’s renewable targets and would save the average household as much as €450 per year. 

Outlining the findings, Paul Deane, senior research fellow in clean energy futures with the MaREI Centre in UCC, said:“ Advances in solar technology and reductions in cost now make it a very attractive prospect for any homeowner. We don’t associate Ireland as a sunny country but there is sufficient sunlight shining on our Irish roofs to make a meaningful impact on electricity bills”. 

The research also suggested that if every suitable home were to maximise its solar panels potential, some could enjoy savings of over €500 in electricity bills, while simultaneously delivering 19 per cent of Ireland’s renewable electricity target and producing 36 per cent of all residential demand. 

Welcoming the findings ISEA CEO, Conall Bolger ,added: “A further exciting initiative commenced at the start of this month offering even greater benefits, with homes finally compensated for unused solar energy that goes onto the national grid. 

“Previously, any unused energy went to waste, now it will travel the network, powering someone else’s home with the green energy your home generated. Homeowners will receive compensation for this under what is called the Microgeneration Support Scheme”. 

He encouraged homeowners to look into grants from the SEAI for installing solar PV but acknowledged that this is currently an inaccessible option for some. 

“While these grants are an excellent support, investing in solar technology may be unattainable for people who are currently experiencing fuel poverty. We believe the government should introduce a means test and fully fund the installation of rooftop solar panels for people in fuel poverty. This would allow them to generate their own clean green power for decades to come and offer protection from volatile energy costs”, the CEO concluded.

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