The solar revolution continues on. All around the world countries and governments are embracing renewable energy, including solar energy. Businesses large and small are increasing savings through solar energy. The next step is your home.
We have previously written about the solar learning curve and the ways your company can get involved with Solar as a Service, but what about your residential property? Solar energy has never been more efficient and affordable. Finding ways to save money on energy bills with solar while also reducing your domestic carbon footprint is crucial and Solar as a Service can help. A significant benefit of Solar as a Service is a lower energy bill as electricity produced from solar energy is free. A solar array also raises the value of your home. There is massive potential with solar for your home.
The Carbon Benefits
Considering a carbon free future isn’t something that is only important from 9 to 5 during the workweek. While the current global focus is on countries and large corporations, residential dwellings will also play an important role in a carbon free future. In Ireland, residential homes and buildings make up almost 11% of all greenhouse gas emissions per year. A typical Irish home has a carbon footprint of about 11 tonnes which is one of the highest in Europe. Like corporations, the government’s carbon tax will eventually target the domestic sector, especially if the country falls behind on its interim targets. This means the energy expenses will come out of your pocket.
Generating your own electricity from sunlight using solar panels is one of the most effective ways to save money and reduce your fossil fuel reliance. It is also an effective way to save money on ever increasing energy bills. Since energy accounts for the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, this an impactful way towards your own personal net zero journey. Utilising solar energy will reduce your need for traditional energy generated by fossil fuels and will directly cut your energy expenditure. There have been many large scale success stories as well as smaller scale residential dwellings.
Grants & Incentives
In Ireland, grants for solar panel systems of up to €3,000 are currently available. It is expected that soon in the future, you will also be able to sell unused energy back into the grid, however there is not a set date on when this will happen. Even with the grant available there are quite a few stipulations that might get in the way of your potential investment. Your home must have been built before 2011, you must use a registered contractor from the SEAI’s renewable installers and register for solar PV. Also, purchasing and installing the solar panels, while much cheaper than in previous years, might still have a high upfront cost depending on your home’s specifications and contractors fees. The grant money isn’t paid out until the work is finished, meaning a high upfront cost is still required.
Types of Panels
There are two types of panels, thermal or photovoltaic (PV). Solar thermal panels are designed to heat water only while photovoltaic panels will generate your own electricity. Additionally, some systems include a battery to store any excess energy generated for use when the sun isn’t shining. A 1 kilowatts peak (kWp) solar PV system would require 3 to 4 panels on your roof, with the panels ideally facing the southside at 35°. 1 square metre of solar panels on a sunny day will generate enough energy to power a laptop and this can be easily scaled up. A well located 20 square metre solar PV system would generate around 30-40% of the average annual electricity demand of an Irish home. A correctly sized solar water heating system will cover 50 to 60% of your hot water heating requirement, all with free solar energy. The switch to either type of solar could save you thousands of euros over the years.
Working With the Weather
The weather, no matter where you are located, will always be a factor. Sunshine will increase your capture capacity while clouds will reduce your output. Remember though, solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy days and the most important factor is light, not heat. While long summer days will give the best performance, you can still get a good output on winter days with sunshine. While Ireland might not be known for its sunny climate, the sun’s radiation levels are comparable with mainland countries like France and Germany.
How We Can Help
Thankfully, UrbanVolt’s “as a Service” model is zero capital investment, saving you the hassle of high upfront costs. While solar panels are created to be durable and require little maintenance, if there are any issues with the panels, the time and costs could become a steep expense. At UrbanVolt, we will supply and install your new solar array and assume all of the maintenance costs throughout the duration of the contract.
Currently UrbanVolt is working on how we can apply our Solar as a Service model to residential properties like your home. When we began our service for commercial and industrial premises earlier this year, we were overwhelmed by the residential interest. We are taking names of people interested. Get in touch with us if you are interested!