There’s no doubt about it, the financial cost of heating and powering your home is rising. Concerns about the cost and availability of energy supplies are some of the main reasons that people consider adopting solar energy, but now, the cost of converting your home to renewables is also increasing. So, is investing in rooftop solar panels still worth it?
Why are energy costs so high right now?
The cost of energy is spiking in Ireland. This is due to a combination of several factors, from a post-COVID surge in demand to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (For context: in 2021, Russia supplied EU countries with 40 percent of their natural gas requirements, while Ireland generates up to 50 percent of its electricity directly from gas.)
However, the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) has suggested that households were already paying among the highest rates for electricity in Europe, as reported by the Irish Times back in April of this year. (According to the ISEA, reducing network chargers for solar operators could prove instrumental in lowering renewable energy costs for consumers.)
Furthermore, as demand rapidly increases for affordable and renewable alternatives, the overall cost of fitting rooftop solar panels has increased by about a third in the last year, with many folks now experiencing extended waiting time before installation. But before you’re put off, installing solar panels is likely still an extremely worthwhile investment. Read on below…
Is it still worth investing in solar panels?
The above factors do not mean that it’s too late to invest in rooftop panels. Ireland’s solar industry is flourishing right now, with around 12 times the number of installers registered with the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland (SEAI) today compared to 2017.
Already, the SEAI has helped fund the installation of solar panels for approximately 15,000 homes and 600 businesses through grants and other subsidies, which can cover from 20 to 30 percent of the total cost. (Check out Caldor’s complete 2021 guide here.)
Changes in legislation around solar technology
The Irish government also recently introduced new legislation to encourage more widespread adoption of solar technology by significantly reducing restrictions and bureaucracy. This long-awaited change to planning permissions will make it easier than ever for home and business owners to adopt and install solar energy panels on their property.
As reported by RTÉ Ireland, Fergus Sharkey, SEAI’s Head of Business Support and Transport says that a typical modern rooftop solar panel system would take up to eight years to pay off at current energy prices. (That’s at an estimated install cost of €6,000 or €4,000 if you avail of the grants in place .) But such a system would save approximately €550 per year for the average household thanks to electricity generation and exportation of the surplus back to the national grid.
Sharkey also confirms that now is still a good time to install solar panels, provided they are the right choice for you. Sustainable energy is a medium-to-long-term strategy—both fiscally and environmentally—rather than a short-term one, and increased installation costs currently do not outweigh the many benefits of incorporating renewables into your home or business.
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