June 21, 2024

Over 20,000 Homes Embrace Solar Annually in Ireland

An average of 65 homes install solar panels daily, benefiting from zero VAT and the ability to sell excess energy back to the grid, contributing to a nearly 43% increase in Ireland's solar power capacity, now totalling 1,185MW. This capacity can power 248,000 homes annually and reduce carbon emissions by 270,000 tonnes.

Reducing Ireland’s Carbon Emissions by 270,000 Tonnes

According to the 2024 Scale of Solar report from the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA), Ireland's capacity to generate solar-powered electricity has increased by almost 43%. On average, 65 homes are installing solar panels daily, benefiting from zero VAT and the ability to sell excess energy back to the grid. Ireland now has a total solar capacity of 1,185MW, with 373MW coming from domestic rooftops – enough to power 125,000 kettles. This 1,185MW capacity can meet the annual electricity needs of 248,000 homes and reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions by 270,000 tonnes.

Solar energy is becoming a more crucial part of Ireland's electricity generation, according to the ISEA. Environment and Climate Minister Eamon Ryan praised this rapid growth, noting that the significant increase in solar generation over just two years demonstrates the potential of collaborative efforts between society, government, and industry.

Ryan also outlined Ireland's goal to fully decarbonize its electricity system within the next decade to a decade and a half, with solar power playing a fundamental and predictable role. Ireland's ambitious target is to achieve 8GW of solar capacity by 2030, and recent research indicates significant strides towards reaching this goal, reflecting substantial progress in a relatively short timeframe.

“The results of this research show that Ireland is making significant progress towards achieving its ambitious objective of 8GW of solar power by 2030 and illustrates the significant advancements that have been made in a short amount of time,” Ryan noted.

Impact of Solar Energy on Ireland's Electricity Production

Electricity generated from residential rooftop panels amounted to 373MW, marking an almost 80% increase within a year. Large solar farms contributed 594MW, up from 349MW in 2023. Additionally, MiniGeneration, often installed by businesses and farms, reached 26MW, a more than five-fold rise from 5MW in 2023.

Conall Bolger, CEO of ISEA, highlighted the transformative impact of solar energy on Ireland's electricity production. Just two years after the first solar farm became operational, there are now 13 on the grid, collectively supplying 594MW of capacity, with several more in various stages of construction or awaiting connection. One notable area of growth is the adoption of rooftop solar panels by individual homeowners, reaching a capacity of 373MW. This growth underscores the Irish population's dedication to climate action.

Contributing to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan Targets

Every day, approximately 65 homes are installing solar panels, benefiting from zero VAT and the automatic sale of excess electricity back to the grid by energy companies. Conall Bolger emphasized the potential for expansion in mini-generation and small-scale generation, highlighting the financial benefits for businesses and farmers alongside their contribution to clean energy production.

Nicholas Tarrant, CEO of ESB Networks, announced with pleasure that nearly 1,200MW of solar generation has been integrated into their network as midsummer’s day approaches. “ESB Networks is happy to report that about 1,200MW of solar power has been linked to our network as midsummer approaches.”

He projected that by the end of 2024, ESB Networks anticipates connecting almost 1,600MW of solar power, ranging from domestic rooftop installations to large-scale utility projects. This growth positions solar as Ireland’s most rapidly expanding renewable energy source, crucial in achieving the country’s Climate Action Plan targets.

Ireland's embrace of solar energy has surged dramatically, with over 20,000 homes annually adopting solar panels. This growth not only reflects a nearly 43% increase in solar capacity but also underscores Ireland's commitment to renewable energy and climate action. With ambitious targets set and significant progress already underway, solar power is poised to play a pivotal role in Ireland's journey towards a fully decarbonized electricity system by 2030, marking a profound transformation in the nation's energy landscape.

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