Irish Study Says Rooftop Solar Panels Can Produce 1/4 th Of Total Electricity Needed

Highlights :

  • While these hypothetical studies will always make a case for rooftop solar, in smaller domains like Ireland, they do deserve a more serious look for viability.
Irish Study Says Rooftop Solar Panels Can Produce 1/4 th Of Total Electricity Needed

A quarter of total electricity needed by Irish households can be produced by installing solar panels on the domestic rooftops.

Conducted by the climate scientists at University College Cork, Ireland, this was the conclusion of the study after the team had thoroughly examined every rooftop in the country using satellite imagery and weather data for the first time.

Commissioned by the Irish Solar Energy Association, the UCC study found that there are about 1 million homes in Ireland which are suitable for ten rooftop solar panel installations with enough roof space and appropriate orientation. The power thus generated was found to be enough for one in every four households and save each household at least €450 in electricity costs per year.

Ushering into a new era of rooftop solar generation, electricity suppliers in Ireland have been granted the access to the data reflecting as to how much surplus, or unused, electricity generated by rooftop solar panels is fed back into the electricity grid. The surplus power generated by the solar panels earns the user payment by the government in Ireland as retrospectively mandated by a legislation on February 19.

Pinergy and SSE Airtricity, two electricity companies, have already announced to pay the users about 13.5 and 14 cents respectively for every kilowatt/hour of the surplus electricity feeding back into the grid. More than 20,000 private houses currently have solar panels installed, according to the study. The government wants 250,000 new rooftop solar systems to be installed by 2030 and hopes that the incentives will help achieve the target.

After long and difficult political discussions, Ireland formed a new government in 2020 on the promise of a “revolution” in renewables. They promised to include annual capacity auctions and to increase their 2030 offshore wind target from 3.5 GW to 5 GW. A new offshore auction is planned for 2021. The government programme also promises rapid decarbonisation. The parties aim to increase the share of renewables to at least 70% by 2030 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent annually in the 2020s.

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