The simple answer is…. YES (and the rain does a good job of cleaning the panels too!)
Ireland seems unlikely to be the next solar powerhouse as there is a common misconception that we need sun all year around to produce solar energy. In actual fact, the key factor for energy generation from PV (photovoltaic) cells is the level and brightness of the light. In simple terms, you will even be producing power on overcast, cloudy days. The most power will be produced on sunny days but significant energy will be produced outside the summer months also.
Is this the reason that there is such a slow rollout rate for rooftop solar in Ireland?
Solar PV still makes up a relatively small percentage of overall renewable electricity generation in Ireland. In 2020, Ireland had the second lowest installation of solar PV power in the EU. To add to this shockingly low number, roughly 40pc of the solar projects that were successful in RESS 1 auctions in 2020 are now not progressing. This is mainly down to the higher cost here.
According to Eurostat, electricity prices in Ireland are 26pc above the EU average, and are the fourth most expensive in the bloc. Inefficiencies in the generation of electricity are to blame for our high prices according to this article in the Irish Independent.
Irish solar operators pay more than other EU countries for every unit of electricity put on the grid. That’s not good for consumers or for encouraging the development of solar energy in Ireland & we need to encourage the development of renewable energy here, especially at this time.