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Do PV panels make financial sense in 2023

  • 11-04-2023 9:33pm
    Registered Users Posts: 816 ✭✭✭

    So in the last year or so we have had soaring electricity costs, introduction of feed in tariffs and abolition of vat.

    My gut tells me yes hence I'm currently waiting to get some quotes back from a couple of installers but how can I be sure?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,287 ✭✭✭SD_DRACULA

    If you don't move house for 10 years you're probably good 🤣

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 6,002 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    They made sense in 2020, make even more sense now.

    Even with the rise in install costs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,189 ✭✭✭crisco10

    Reckon even if you sell, given their impact on BER, they would still make sense.

  • Registered Users Posts: 298 ✭✭JayBee66

    I can echo that. When our 20 year old bungalow was built the BER was C3. After insulation it was C1. After PV and triple glazing it's now B1. When we get HP, who knows. Probably better than the new NZEB estates going up around KK, rated at A3 but without PV.

    Of course, I don't think much of the BER system with the enormous amount of guesswork the inspectors perform but that's for another thread.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,734 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    Use the faq, and the link to past installs from forum members to work out the cost per Kw. See how the price has risen, and realize a lot of advice here comes from folks who bought early. So be careful listening to us!

    Then design a system based on your usage and your aspect. If you have good aspect... A smaller system will output way more... But if you aren't home to use it at peaks... So what?

    Not everyone will have bought smartly and some have too much money and no interest in doing the math. So dont just copy your neighbours... Misery loves company. You have to put in the work to measure up your own usage and be realistic on your roof slash garden aspect.

    This is a great forum to use to not get ripped off by rising costs.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,786 ✭✭✭DownByTheGarden

    What we got at the start of last year is working out well for us.

    Exact same system that the next door neighbor is getting quotes and from the exact same companies for now is anything from 40% to 70% more expensive than we paid for it.

    I ran the numbers and it wouldnt work out for us at all now. Most of the savings quoted by installers are generation, most of which you probably wont be there to use or you pump into the hot water. You would never have pumped that much into hot water anyway and you certainly would not be using whats going out to the grid, so all of that counted as savings is false counting. If FIT is going to follow the UK that will be so low its now worth thinking about soon enough.

    I notice too a lot of people posting their generation stats are not even aware that if its a solis report that that generation is including what they pulled from the grid into their battery. They are over counting by more than double what they are getting from the sun if they are grid charging.

    If electricity prices fall then the numbers are even worse. They are predicted to fall a lot this year, but over the long run will probably only increase, so thats hard to work out.

    I think what has happened (as well as general price inflation) is that the installers have seen that with electricity prices are higher, so the "predicted" savings are higher, so they will take the difference and calculate your payback to be the same amount of time they were saying it was over a year ago.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,643 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha

    In the same boat OP and all quotes Ive gotten so far are not far off double of what it would have cost back in 2020-21 which was a fantastic time to install and fair play to those that did, they really hit a sweet spot in terms of value for money. The much higher prices now means the payback periods have gone way up, one quote I had gave me a payback period of nearly 16 years which to me just isnt worth it. For reference my roof is quite small meaning I dont have economies of scale so YMMV if you are installing a larger array than me (3.6kwp).

    I think right now as far as solar installs go we are in a perfect storm of a shortage of installers and labour matched with massive demand for solar from homeowners due to electricity costs shooting up to 50 cents a day unit off the back of the Ukraine war. IMO the current market conditions wont last forever and as more installation companies enter the market and the price of electricity comes down so too should demand and the price of installs (in theory).

    Personally I think Im going to hold off for a while as Ive yet to find a quote that would be worth it (to me) and with a payback period of under 10 years which is my upper limit. Going direct labour and forgoing the grant is also an option as it seems it could save money.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,189 ✭✭✭crisco10

    Totally agree with your last comment. I think the installers are using value based pricing, as opposed to cost + margin approach.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,508 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Not giving installers a free pass here, but their own cost bases have risen too. It's too easy to say "bad installer - bad boy"!

    Inflation of 8%-10% last year meant that panels that they were getting from the distributors are costing them more. Their staff need pay rises to match inflation, diesel to get to/from the site risen. It's not as simple to say that they are taking the mickey. Even 2 years ago you could see the difference in quotes from various active installers in the market with others. (See what I did there?! LOL)

    That said, the price increases over the last 18 months (30%?) would be out of alignment with the state of inflation. Still let's run some math. Math is always the provider :-)

    Let's take a 6Kwp south facing system. From PVGIS that will generate 5600Kwhr in Dublin. Let's assume that you just get the export FIT rate of €0.20 (and not actually reap the benefits of €0.45 or whatever day units you pay), so that would be 5600x€0.20 = €1,120. We want a payback in 10 years, so as long as you pay less than €11,200, your quids in. You start to use some of those units during the day and your payback is quicker than 10 years or you pay less than €11,000 your also quids in.

    Granted smaller system are not as viable, but yeah.....5-6Kwp systems and above, you shop around and you'll get your money back in 10 years easy enough. Go DIY and you'll do better. I reckon the money I spent on the shed will pay for itself in 4 years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,013 ✭✭✭Mr Q

    Unfortunately you would have close to €500 per year in additional taxes in that calculation if you exported every unit.

    As you said for anyone who can DIY is the way to go. 70 cent or less per watt should be doable on a larger system, especially if on a metal roof that you can do yourself.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,508 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    True, very true - but I was doing some rough math to see what was feasible quickly. If you wanted to do a "proper analysis", you would base your cost savings on the fact that a lot of the units consumed would be at day rate, and not at the FIT rate of €0.20 which I used. That will obviously depend on how much of the 5600Kwh you consume yourself and also at the rate that your paying for day rate. So the math starts to get a little more complicated and more dependent on the individual user case, such as how much of your generation you use during the day along with the tariff your on currently, do you have a battery (which typically raises self-consumption ratio) but roughly you'd be looking something like...

    Assuming 60% of the units produce are "self-consumed", so 3360Kwhr (out of the 5600Kwh) and @ €0.47/kwhr = €1,579 (I pulled the data today from Bord Gas)

    Then of course you would still get FIT on the remaining, so 5600-3360= 2240 kwhr @ €0.20/kwhr = €448. But €200 of that is tax free, so you would pay income on the remainder so 50% (?) of €248. = €124.

    So your fictional savings per annum in this scenario is €1,579 + €200 + €124 = €1,903

    Now we're talking about 6 years payback. Is that worth it? Well every person would have to make that decision for themselves. I would struggle to find a better deal out there giving (effectively) 15% return on investment, but there's always bitcoin :-)

    Edit: I fixed a spelling mistake or two.

    Post edited by bullit_dodger on

  • Registered Users Posts: 760 ✭✭✭PGL

    Any tips on going down the DIY route? I'm not an electrician, so would still need one to do the installation!


  • Registered Users Posts: 65,260 ✭✭✭✭unkel
    Chauffe, Marcel, chauffe!

    You only need an electrician to hook up the AC from your inverter into your consumer unit. You can (legally) do everything else yourself.