Green Loan for Solar Panels
If you would consider paying for 6-7 years of electricity upfront to get 15 – 20 years of electricity a good investment, then you should consider investing in solar PV panels. We can help you finance your solar PV panels with our great value Credit Union Green Loan which comes with a low rate of 6% (6.17% APR).
Are solar panels worth the expense?
Solar panels are a good investment because they can save you hundreds or even thousands of euros on your electricity bill every year. They are also better for the environment and can provide energy stability.
Solar panels are very reliable and have a median failure rate of only 0.05%. This means that out of 10,000 solar panels, only 5 are expected to fail in a year. They also have a lifespan of 20-30 years, so you can enjoy the benefits of solar power for many years to come – long after you have finished paying for them!
Is Ireland suitable for solar generation?
Yes, solar panels work very well in Ireland, even though we have a relatively cloudy and dull climate. This is because solar panels work off the light of the sun, rather than the heat. So, even on a cloudy day, you can still generate electricity.
In fact, the best months for solar generation in Ireland are during late spring, summer, and early autumn. However, you can still generate electricity in the winter months, albeit at a lower rate.
It’s also worth noting that you can build up credit with your electricity provider. You can do this by exporting the excess you generate during the good months. This can be used during the traditionally bad months for solar generation – November, December, January, and February.
How much can you actually save?
The amount of money you can save by installing solar panels will depend on a number of factors. These include the size of your solar system, the amount of sunlight you receive, and your electricity usage. However, you can typically save between 30% and 70% of your annual electricity bill. The SEAI states that a home solar PV system sized at 20 sq.m (~3kWp) would generate around 2,600kWh of electricity a year. That is over 40% of the average annual electricity demand of an Irish home.
You can also export any excess electricity you generate back to the grid and earn a feed-in tariff. The current feed-in tariff rate in Ireland is up to €0.24 per kWh.
Here is a real-world example:
A 2350 square foot A3 rated home in the midlands installed a 7.4kWp solar system (south facing) with a 10kWh storage battery. The cost of the system was €12,400 after grants.
- From July 1st to December 31st, the solar system generated 3,358kWh of electricity. Of this, 1,794kWh was used to power the home, saving €627.90 on the electricity bill. The remaining 1,564kWh was exported to the grid, generating €328.44 (see the latest electricity rates here).
- Over the 6-month period, the total revenue (money saved and generated) was €956.34.
- The average monthly usage in 2021 was 1324kWh per month. This means that the solar system generated around 50% of the total electricity used in 2022.
They’re nice figures, but what do they mean?
Analysing your electricity usage can help you offset a significant portion of a Credit Union Green Loan against the electricity savings from solar power. This means that you may not have to pay much more than you normally do. This is because you will be saving on the electricity you generate and use. You can also build up credit with the export of electricity. This credit can be used during the months when solar PV is not as effective (late October to late March). The best news is that once you have paid off the loan, you will start saving a lot of money!
If you are considering investing in solar PV panels, it is important to analyse your usage patterns. Start by charting your electricity usage for the last year. If you are billed bi-monthly, you should end up with 6 bills. If you have a day/night meter, split the usage into day units and night units per bill. Solar PV does not work at night, so if you have a larger night load, you may want to consider a battery.
If you are on a standard 24-hour plan, estimate how much electricity is used in the evening versus during the day. If you work during the day and come home later, you probably use more night units. Your usage might be 60% in the evening/night and 40% during the day.
Once you have charted your annual usage, you can start estimating how much could be covered by solar PV panels.
From April to September, a solar PV system should generally be running close to full capacity (or at full capacity). Using your estimated monthly usage, you can work out the cost of electricity that could be covered by a solar PV system. For example, if the average daily usage for a billing cycle was 30kWh per day with 20kWh being used during the day, and each day unit costing €0.40, then a solar PV system could save you up to €8 per day, or €240 a month, and that’s excluding the excess which is fed back to the grid.
At present, you can only generate a maximum of 6kWh for a standard domestic setup (connected to the grid). This does not mean that you must restrict your solar panels to 6kWp. Many people opt for larger systems as they will generate more electricity when the conditions are not optimum. If your panels are only running at 50% efficiency, then having more panels will increase your generation. However, if the conditions are optimum, you won’t be able to generate over 6kWh at any given moment.
The key to maximizing a solar PV setup is to make changes and use the electricity when it’s generated.
This might mean that you have to change your electricity usage habits. Instead of running the washing machine or dryer during off-peak times, you now run it when the sun is the brightest! If you have a hot water tank, you could invest in an Eddi. This is a solar power diverter that helps you to make the most of your self-generated power. Rather than exporting your excess electricity back to the grid, an Eddi heats your hot water with the excess power that is not used by the home. Another option is to invest in an electric car and use the excess energy to power your car.
Should you get a battery for your solar panels?
Before electricity suppliers started paying the feed-in tariff, a battery was a wise investment. This is because you could store the energy generated during the day and use it at night.
However, now that suppliers pay for excess power, a battery is not as essential. There are still some benefits to having a battery, such as the fact that you pay more for the night rate than what your provider will pay you for your excess power. It is also useful during the darker months, as you can charge your battery at a lower night rate and use it during the day. However, batteries are expensive, so you should always do the math to make sure the cost is justified.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to get a battery for your solar panels:
- Your electricity usage: If you have a high electricity usage, a battery can help you save money by storing the energy generated during the day and using it at night.
- Your location: If you live in an area with a lot of cloudy days, a battery can be more useful, as you will be able to store more energy during the day when the sun is shining.
- Your budget: Batteries are expensive, so you need to make sure that you can afford the upfront cost.
If you are considering getting a battery for your solar panels, we recommend talking to a solar installer to get their advice. They can help you assess your needs and determine if a battery is the right option for you.
Now you have the low down on solar PV panels, and if you’re considering investing in them, please contact us about our great value Credit Union Green Loan! We also do other great-value loans and mortgages. Click here to find out more about our range of loans.
The information provided used an analysis of a 2022 solar PV installation. Anyone considering installing solar panels should do their own research, as all homes are different, and energy usage patterns and energy costs can vary greatly. While every care has been made in the production of this blog post, Croí Laighean Credit Union, or any of its staff, cannot be held responsible for any omissions, or errors.