Grants for solar panels and battery systems

Introduction

The Solar PV Scheme provides a once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and/or a battery energy storage system in homes. The Solar PV Scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). You must apply for the Solar PV Scheme and have received a grant offer from SEAI before proceeding with any works.

SEAI recommends that you insulate your home before considering a solar PV system, as insulation is the easiest way to reduce your energy costs. There are grants available to help with insulating your home:

Rules

Solar PV systems

A domestic solar PV system consists of solar panels mounted on the roof of your house (or in the garden) which generate electricity to power electrical devices in your home. The term ‘solar panel’ is often used interchangeably to describe the panels that generate electricity and those that generate hot water.

  • Solar panels that produce electricity are known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. These panels generate electricity when exposed to light. Solar PV is the rooftop solar you see on homes and businesses.
  • Solar panels that produce hot water are known as solar thermal collectors or solar hot water collectors.

This Solar electricity grant focuses on PV, where solar electric panels capture the light from the sun and convert it into the electricity that is used in your home to power your TV, kettle, toaster, phone charger, radio, oven, and so on.

A system of up to 2kWp in size (approximately six to eight solar panels) is suitable for most homes. It is important that the system is sized for self-consumption of the energy within the home as per the Code of Practice (pdf).

Battery energy storage systems

The Solar PV Scheme may also cover the purchase and installation of a battery energy storage system. Battery energy storage systems (BESS) are used for larger solar PV systems, so that the excess electricity generated during daytime hours can be used at another time. This is a newer technology and recommended to be only installed in suitable homes.

This scheme does not cover solar water heating systems, which use the heat of the sun to heat up the water that is stored in your hot water cylinder. However, the SEAI provides a separate grant for solar water heating.

Eligibility

You must first apply and receive approval for the grant before you proceed. When you receive approval you have 8 months to complete the works. You are only eligible for the grant once per technology.

Energy generated from your solar PV system should be used in your home, and the system should be of a suitable size for this. See the Solar PV Grant Application Guide (pdf) for further technical specifications, as well as information on insurance, contracts, inspections, grant limits and how to apply.

All systems installed must comply with the requirements set out in the Code of Practice for Installers (pdf). The Declaration of Works must be completed and signed off by a registered solar PV installer. Registered solar PV installers are listed on seai.ie.

The work must be finished before you can get your grant payment and you must have either paid your contractor or agreed a payment plan.

How to qualify

To qualify for a grant you must:

Planning permission

You will not need planning permission to install solar panels at your home as long as you meet certain conditions, which are outlined in the planning section of the Solar PV Grant Application Guide (pdf). Generally, you will not need planning permission if the solar panels take up less than 12 square metres (or less than 50% of the area of the roof), which is about the size of a 6-panel system. However, ask your local authority for guidance about planning permission if:

  • Your home is a protected structure
  • You home is located in a protected area, for example, an architectural conservation area
  • The proposed works do not meet the conditions listed in the application guide

Choosing a contractor

Before choosing a company from the registered list, the SEAI recommend that you get a number of quotes and compare the offers, and request and check the company’s references.

You must have a contract in place with the contractor to ensure that you have a suitable level of consumer protection. SEAI have a sample contract (pdf) on their website to help with this.

Rates

The grant covers materials and labour, unless you are a contractor doing the work in your own home. In this case, only the cost of the materials is covered.

If the cost of the systems and labour (including VAT) is less than the maximum grant amount, you will get a grant for the actual cost.

The maximum grants are:

System Rate
Solar PV system €900 per kWp up to a maximum of 2kWp

(kWp means kilowatt-peak, which is a measure of the peak output of a solar PV system)

Solar PV and Battery energy storage system

€900 per kWp up to a maximum of 2kWp

€300 per kWp for 2-4kWp

Battery storage up to €600 per home

How to apply

You can apply for the Solar PV Scheme online or by post. If applying by post, you should contact the SEAI to get an application form and send it back to them – see ‘Where to apply’ below.

When applying for the grant you will need to provide details about the installation, including the size of the system to be installed. You will also need to provide your address and the MPRN number from your electricity bill, the year your house was built and the name of the registered company you intend to use.

After the works are completed

Your installer will give you the documentation you need to claim the grant, including the signed Declaration of Works form. You should keep these documents for your records. Your installer will also complete and upload a number of documents about the work to the SEAI website. SEAI has a solar PV completion checklist (pdf) that lists the documents needed.

SEAI will then check if your installation meets the scheme requirements. Once all conditions are met, SEAI will then process your payment which will be paid by electronic funds transfer (EFT) into your bank account.

Homeowner records

During the upgrade works you may receive various documents from the company doing the work. It is very important that these documents are kept in a safe place and are available for either your BER assessor or for an inspection by SEAI. SEAI recommends that you keep all this information together in a safe place for future reference. It may also be useful if you wish to sell your house or if you encounter a problem with any of the work.

Where to apply

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

SEAI Head Office

3 Park Place
Upper Hatch Street
Dublin 2

Tel: 01 8082100

Page edited: 17 January 2020