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Energy Solutions

Solar Promises the Sun and the Future

In the present uncertain environment and wild fluctuations in the cost of oil and gas, we have used recent blogs to present ideas around alternative sources of  renewable energy that can reduce your bills. In previous weeks, we looked at Biomass and Heat Pumps. This week we will discuss Solar energy.

Did you know that the energy the sun provides to the earth for one hour could meet global energy needs for one year? Harnessing at least some of this power by installing solar panels can make a significant difference to the planet.

Solar was initially viewed in some quarters as inefficient and expensive.  However, the technology is continuously improving and prices are falling. One of the biggest improvements is in the area of solar battery storage systems, turning solar into a significantly more efficient source of clean energy.

Thanks to solar panel grants and the increasingly competitive prices in the market, solar energy has become the main source of energy for more and more families.

Since you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity on your solar system, your energy bills will drop. How much you save on your bill will be dependent on the size of the system and your electricity or heat usage. You can also sell excess energy back into the grid.

In Green Harbour, we have noticed that some householders expect a little too much from solar. It will not solve all your energy or heating needs. We recommend that you use it for specific purposes. For heating your water during the summer months, for example, or for heating a large radiator in your hall which will generate heat around the house. And who wouldn’t like the idea of being able to power your new electric car by utilising your solar panels!

Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job. Most reliable solar panel manufacturers offer a 20-25 year warranty.

Solar panels cost anything from €5,000 to €15,000 for a house in Ireland. The SEAI grant can reduce this from €3,200 to €12,600. The disparity in price is based mainly on the amount of panels you need or want.

For example, 2kW of solar panels with a power diverter will cost €5,000 (ex grant); 9kW + Power Diverter + Battery will cost around €15,000.

A battery lets you store surplus solar energy for night-time use. They can cost about €1500 to €4,000 depending on capacity and quality.  With the smart export guarantee coming to fruition in the near future, it might be more valuable to go for more panels and a power divertor instead. You might look at a battery some time in the future when prices, hopefully, come down.

No matter how you look at it, Solar as a major energy source for households and businesses is here to stay and can only increase its footprint as the technology evolves.

Solar Energy
Renewable Energy Sources
Reduces Energy Bills
Weather Dependent
Low Maintenance costs
Solar storage is expensive
Technology Development
Needs a lot of space

James Kelly is CEO of Edenderry based energy solutions company, Green Harbour.