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Last updated: 09 June 2021

Solar Panels in Northern Ireland

Solar panels in Northern Ireland are a great source of renewable energy, with reported growth in solar energy production in the last years. Northern Ireland receives between 1,000 and 1,100 hours of UV light every year. With the amount of UV hours, solar panels will be able to generate enough solar energy to power your home.

Northern Ireland is similar to the Midlands of England where solar PV installations have multiplied in the last years. There was an increase of solar energy produced in Northern Ireland from 62 megawatts 2014 to 222 megawatts in 2017.

It is important to get an understanding of the pros and cons of solar energy before making an investment decision. This involves understanding the technology, solar energy costs, determining the right solar PV installation, and how many solar panels you need for your home.

If you're interested in solar panels for your home in Northern Ireland, and you would like to know more about your renewable energy options, GreenMatch is here for you.You can make this process faster by simply filling in the contact form at the top of this page and wait to receive up to four free, no-obligation quotes from our professional installers.

Solar Panels in Northern Ireland

How Do Solar Panels Work in Northern Ireland?

Like in any other location, solar panels in Northern Ireland work by generating energy from the sun. This involves installing solar panels on your roof - or other available space - connecting solar panels to the solar inverter, and powering your appliances.

You have options of connecting your solar installation to the grid or installing a solar battery storage system. There are several advantages with the respective choices which include: how much you can save, clean energy generation, and reduced energy bills.

how solar panels work

Solar panels generate energy from the intensity of light, which means that they can generate energy even during winter. This also means that the panels are not necessarily dependent on sunlight.

For solar panels to work well in Northern Ireland, you should ensure that you get professional guidance on what system size is appropriate for your house, and source for professional installers. It is not a good idea to buy solar panels and install them yourself, because there are a lot of technical considerations involved.

1 1: The solar panels convert sunlight into DC electricity. 2 2: The DC electricity from the solar panels are wired through a DC-switch. The DC-switch is there for safety reasons and it can be used to turn off the flow of electricity if needed. 3 3: The DC electricity then goes through a solar inverter that inverts the electricity from DC electricity to AC electricity. 4 4: Using solar battery storage is optional. Note! Solar batteries always store DC electricity. You can decide if you want to connect the battery before the inverter so you store DC electricity directly, or if you want to connect it after the inverter, which means the battery will re-convert it from AC back to DC. 5 5: From the solar inverter, the AC electricity flows through an electricity meter. The electricity meter measures solar electricity production, solar electricity consumption, amount of electricity bought from the grid, and amount of electricity sold to the grid. 6 6: From the electricity meter, the AC electricity goes to the fuse box where it is fed into the household's electricity system. 7 7: Solar electricity can then be used within the household, for example to power lights and appliances. 8 8: The solar electricity that is not used or stored is fed to the grid. If you are registered under the Smart Export Guarantee, you can sell this surplus electricity and earn an income.
Solar Panel System

How Much Does it Cost to Install Solar Panels in NI?

The cost of installing solar panels in Northern Ireland is dependent on several factors. These include; your average monthly energy consumption, how many solar panels you need, the available solar panels space, and whether you would like a battery storage system as well.

The total installation costs will also depend on the type of solar panels, system quality, insurance, and choice of installer. However, just to have an idea, an average solar panel installation for your home will cost you between £4,000 and £9,000. It is advisable to get in touch directly with your supplier in order to get the exact price of your domestic solar installation.

Are Solar Panels Worth Getting?

Solar panels are worth getting because of their low negative impact to the environment, and the option to reduce your energy bill costs. Some of the cons include high installation costs and large installation space. Before investing in solar energy, you should be aware of the following pros and cons. 

  • Reduces electricity bills
  • Clean energy source
  • Lower environmental pollution
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Continued technology development
  • Expensive to install
  • Solar energy is dependant on weather
  • Solar energy storage is expensive
  • A large amount of space is required

How Can I Get Free Solar Panels?

There are no free solar panels in Northern Ireland. There have, however, been schemes that encouraged installation of solar panels for homes and businesses in Northern Ireland. An example is the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) that was led by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI).

NIRO’s goal was to encourage generation on renewable energy. It involved issuing of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to electricity generators like home owners by electricity suppliers. The electricity suppliers were then obliged to present an increased number of ROCs to the government, to prove that they had sold renewable energy electricity.

These schemes are however no longer available in Northern Ireland.

Is There a Grant for Solar Panels in Ireland?

There are no specific grants for solar panels in the Northern Ireland. However, with the introduction of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) in January 2020, you can get payment and savings in the long run.

SEG is a type of solar funding where licensed electricity suppliers are required by the government to offer a tariff and make payment energy generators e.g from solar home systems, for electricity exported to the National Grid. With SEG, it is possible for a solar system to repay itself in about five to eight years. It is therefore important that you choose a licenced supplier.

Would like to get more information? Simply fill in the contact form above with your needs and preferences. We will find 4 of the best deals for your solar panel system. The service is 100% free and with no obligation.

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