Solar Panels for Electricity in Dublin

newirishman

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772
Currently planning an extension to my mid-terrace house and want to use the additional roof area for solar panels (both hot water and electricity).
Albeit I can find a lot of information to use solar hot water panels, there isn't a lot out there with regards to electricity.
It is particularly difficult to find some concrete information around rates for selling electricity back to the grid, and any setup/connection costs with ESB networks. There is quite a bit of information around wind turbines, but that isn't going to fly with the planners I'd say!

Hence wondering if anyone is successfully using solar panels to generate electricity in Dublin (or any other urban area in Ireland), and can provide more information on rates, regulations, etc.

I am not concerned about the financials as such (in terms of payback period for investment) - if I can't sell it back to the grid, I will probably do something using batteries, low-voltage circuits for lights, etc. (which will then be an interesting journey with regards to regulations for electricity installation).
 
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Woodie

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If you Google "Micro Generation Ireland" you should get a whole bunch of stuff. I was looking to wind power and think that [you need to confirm[ the unit price for back to the grid was 19c to 3000kw and 9c after that. I did not follow because at this point without a mainstream initiative I felt I would be a bit of guinea pig with quite expensive outlay. Also there did not seem to be any certified installers or system of regulation at the time I looked.
If anyone has practical experience of either solar or wind micro generation outcomes I'd be fascinated to know too.
 

Leo

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To make any sense financially, the grid buy-back rates would need to be significantly higher than they are now. Without grid buy-back, the system will likely never pay for itself.

Deep cycle batteries are expensive, and have a limited shelf life, so that approach doesn't make financial sense either.
 

newirishman

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772
To make any sense financially, the grid buy-back rates would need to be significantly higher than they are now. Without grid buy-back, the system will likely never pay for itself.

Deep cycle batteries are expensive, and have a limited shelf life, so that approach doesn't make financial sense either.
Leo - thanks, I understand that.

Nobody has ever accused me of having any financial sense anyway so I am OK with that :)
This is more about the engineering challenge and trying to add a bit of "sustainability" to living in a city, and less about if it makes financial sense.
Other people spend 10, 20 or 30K on a car...I will spend less for rainwater harvesting, solar panels, ground pumps, low-energy lighting, etc. and probably have more fun planning and installing all this than I would have being stuck in traffic anyway!

Anyway - the price of batteries (and lifetime) is still a problem alright, but if the rates woodie quoted are anything close to accurate it is not too bad.

Thanks!
 

newirishman

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772
If you Google "Micro Generation Ireland" you should get a whole bunch of stuff. I was looking to wind power and think that [you need to confirm[ the unit price for back to the grid was 19c to 3000kw and 9c after that. I did not follow because at this point without a mainstream initiative I felt I would be a bit of guinea pig with quite expensive outlay. Also there did not seem to be any certified installers or system of regulation at the time I looked.
If anyone has practical experience of either solar or wind micro generation outcomes I'd be fascinated to know too.
Thanks Woodie - I've done that but it seems to be rather tricky to get confirmed, written details on the actual price you would get (it took me 30 seconds to get the prices for Germany for example). The electricity suppliers are rather good on being vague here (comparable to finding out how much you actually pay for a kwh instead of just seeing "-10%" on the price schemes. Not helpful at all).

Anyone who has successfully connected solar panels to the grid I'd appreciate any contact or stories!
 

saibhne

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Hi newirishman,
Fair play to you for looking beyond the simple pay back and considering sustainability as a value in itself..

Grid connect is fine, you need to fill out a form for ESB networks and state the details of your installation. For this you will need to have decided on the details of what you will install - most importantly the inverter type needs to be clarified. They seem to process the form in about 6 weeks.

You will need a smart meter installed to allow you to export to the grid which is about €350 to install payable to ESB Networks - again no real issue just some patience required.

FIT has been reduced to 9c per kWh The best economy for PV is if you can use the energy as it is being produced i.e. during the day so it replaces the electricity you buy from the grid which can be about 20c inc VAT per kWh.

Let me know if you need anything else!

S.
 

Woodie

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467
FIT has been reduced to 9c per kWh The best economy for PV is if you can use the energy as it is being produced i.e. during the day so it replaces the electricity you buy from the grid which can be about 20c inc VAT per kWh.
Goodness that's pretty mean, thanks for the updated accurate info Saibhne. The reduction in Feed In Tariff is a real incentive (not) .... seems like they want to kill off microgeneration. To me there seems a lot of common sense in having the possibility of lots of microgeneration particularly on farms and businesses, but households too for a country which imports so much. The system seems to be working at all levels against people like newirishman with having to stump up the best part of 4000kwh output just to pay for the meter on top of the existing standing charge.
As to environment there are arguments against PV but that's a whole other story and I'm not so sure of the validity of those arguments in any case.
 

saibhne

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Goodness that's pretty mean, thanks for the updated accurate info Saibhne. The reduction in Feed In Tariff is a real incentive (not) .... seems like they want to kill off microgeneration. To me there seems a lot of common sense in having the possibility of lots of microgeneration particularly on farms and businesses, but households too for a country which imports so much. The system seems to be working at all levels against people like newirishman with having to stump up the best part of 4000kwh output just to pay for the meter on top of the existing standing charge.
As to environment there are arguments against PV but that's a whole other story and I'm not so sure of the validity of those arguments in any case.
Yes indeed Woodie the lack of government support is definitely not helping.. However, there is a fairly unique financial situation here in Ireland where although we don't have any subsidy to speak of the fact that our electricity prices are some of the highest in Europe means the payback can become realistic in some situations. Electricity prices in Ireland have doubled in the last 10 years that is an average annual increase in price of 7% or so (see the Eurostat website for details) - if this trend continues Solar PV systems can pay for themselves in 10 - 12 years. With a 25 year output expected on these systems that can make a lot of sense.

With regards the energy payback of these systems i.e. how much energy is invested in initially producing the system, there is a wealth of research done on this topic - a quick google of research papers on energy payback on PV systems will give you a good idea but the consensus that I can see is that the systems will payback the energy that was used to produce them within 4 years of operation.
 

jpd

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Can I ask an obvious question - what is good about having an energy subsidy for feed-in tarifs?

What is the reasoning behind taxpayers paying people to produce electricity?
 

Woodie

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467
Can I ask an obvious question - what is good about having an energy subsidy for feed-in tarifs?

What is the reasoning behind taxpayers paying people to produce electricity?
Personally I was not specifically looking for subsidies for feed in tariffs. If I am am prepared to make a significant investment in micro-generation, something that creates business in the country and goes towards reduces imports, I don't see why I shouldn't benefit from a better deal per KWh. I'm paying for the meter, paying for the standing charges as usual and I don't see why the system should skim extra profit from me from the units I am generating. After all I'll still be paying handsomely for excess units I do use. At 19c and 9c the pricing was a bit fairer but a flat rate of 9c no matter what time just seems anti-competitive to me, nothing to do with wanting subsidies really.
 

quentingargan

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Can I ask an obvious question - what is good about having an energy subsidy for feed-in tarifs?

What is the reasoning behind taxpayers paying people to produce electricity?
It isn't taxpayers money. There is a tiny levy on retail electricity prices to pay the so-called subsidy. In the UK there is a very generous (in fact too generous) subsidy. This was originally 45p, but as the industry grew and prices dropped, the feed in tariff fell, and is now 16p.

Governments need to develop strategies to find energy from other sources, either because of carbon emissions targets or because over-reliance on fossil fuels is economically precarious.

Personally, I like my energy to come from clean sources and have put in wind turbines and solar PV to power our home without regard to payback time (I was an early adopter) but I have no regrets. Other people bought new cars at the time, while I bought a banger, so financially we're quits.

If you use a lot of energy during the daytime, you can install PV, have clean energy for your home and get a return of between 5% and 10% on your investment which is a lot better than having it earn 2.5% less DIRT in a dodgy bank.
 

TyroneAust

Registered User
Messages
1
Currently planning an extension to my mid-terrace house and want to use the additional roof area for solar panels (both hot water and electricity).
Albeit I can find a lot of information to use solar hot water panels, there isn't a lot out there with regards to electricity.
It is particularly difficult to find some concrete information around rates for selling electricity back to the grid, and any setup/connection costs with ESB networks. There is quite a bit of information around wind turbines, but that isn't going to fly with the planners I'd say!

Hence wondering if anyone is successfully using solar panels to generate electricity in Dublin (or any other urban area in Ireland), and can provide more information on rates, regulations, etc.

I am not concerned about the financials as such (in terms of payback period for investment) - if I can't sell it back to the grid, I will probably do something using batteries, low-voltage circuits for lights, etc. (which will then be an interesting journey with regards to regulations for electricity installation).
I think it is very hard to use solar panels in Dublin.. You surely need an expert guidance to get enough electricity from these panels..
 

quentingargan

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Messages
106
I think it is very hard to use solar panels in Dublin.. You surely need an expert guidance to get enough electricity from these panels..
Not really. If you want to use solar PV to generate electricity, there are numerous computer simulations out there that can take in roof angle, panel type, inverter type etc., and tell you your expected yield. They're quite accurate. It is a very mature industry with investers installing 5 megawatt parks all over the UK - they want to know what the payback is, so the tools are there to do it.
 

raven

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214
This should be of interest, it should shake up the market a bit - hopefully it should be just a matter of time before they are selling in ireland.

http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/store/thurrock/solar_panels

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2438160/The-Ikea-solar-panel--flat-pack-course-Swedish-chain-start-selling-panels-install-too.html

Price of these units may be become very viable in the near to medium term.

Using solar for electricity as opposed to hot water and heat seems to make much more sense to me, ie. Solar obviously works better in the summer time and less well in the winter (which isn't ideal for a heating application ), - however you use electricity all year round.
 

Dinny

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257
We own a small shop which uses quiet a lot of energy during the day time( hot and cold deli fryers etc)
Would this be a viable system for us to use as we would use all the energy produced and would probably still require addition electric. We have a lot of roof area. Our current electric bill in over €1000 per month.

We have a number of pieces of equipment on 3 phase as well, could this be incorporated
 

quentingargan

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Messages
106
We own a small shop which uses quiet a lot of energy during the day time( hot and cold deli fryers etc)
Would this be a viable system for us to use as we would use all the energy produced and would probably still require addition electric. We have a lot of roof area. Our current electric bill in over €1000 per month.

We have a number of pieces of equipment on 3 phase as well, could this be incorporated
Yes - yours is one of the few cases in Ireland where solar PV may be viable. I would start by fitting something like an OWL energy monitor and see what your baseload is (roughly the lowest amount you use at any one time). You could estimate the size of system needed to meet that baseload as a start point. There are numerous simulations for doing this sort of calculation.
 

Dinny

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Hi is there any company who would carry out a survey with out costing a fortune to see if viable. Looking at the SEAI website there maybe some tax benefits for investing in it
 

quentingargan

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106
Most companies in the business will do that for free. The survey should be done using a reputable software, not somebody's excel spreadsheet. PM me if you can't find someone you trust.
 
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