Grants for solar panels
The Solar Electricity Grant provides a once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for your home. It is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). You must apply for the grant and receive a grant offer from SEAI before you get your solar panels and start any work.
What are solar panels
Solar panels are devices that use sunlight to generate hot water, or electricity to power electrical devices in your home.
- 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 and so on. These panels are often mounted on the roof of your house or in the garden.
Most homes need six or seven solar panels, which is a 2 kilowatt system. It is important that the system is sized for self-consumption of the energy within the home as per the Code of Practice (pdf).
Do I qualify for the Solar Electricity Grant?
To qualify for a grant you must:
- Be the owner of a home built and occupied before 2021
- Use new materials and products that were not already covered under another grant scheme
- Use a registered company from the SEAI’s registered list of companies
- Have the electrical works completed by a Safe Electric Ireland electrician
- Apply to ESB Networks to be connected to the electricity distribution system using the ESB Networks NC6 form (pdf). Your registered installer should do this for you before they fit the system.
- Provide a Declaration of Works signed by a registered installer on the SEAI Solar PV Approved Installer list
- Have a Building Energy Rating (BER) carried out after the work is completed
- Meet the requirements in the Solar PV Code of Practice
What to consider before applying for the Solar Electricity Grant
There are a number of things to consider before applying for the grant, such as if you’ll need planning permission and whether you should insulate your home first.
Insulating your home before getting solar panels
SEAI recommends that you insulate your home before considering solar panels, as insulation is the easiest way to reduce your energy costs. You can apply for the following grants with the SEAI to insulate your home and improve its overall energy efficiency:
Some of these schemes include the Solar Electricity Grant as one of their energy efficiency measures. However, you may have to apply for it separately.
Do I need planning permission for solar panels?
You do 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
Solar PV system requirements
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 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.
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.
How much is the grant?
The grant you get depends on the peak output of your solar system. Peak output is measured in kWp, which is kilowatt-peak. You get:
- €900 for 1kWp
- €1,800 for 2kWp
- €2,100 for 2kWp
- €2,400 for 4kWp
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.
Note: You are only eligible for the grant once.
How to apply for the Solar Electricity Grant
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 need to provide details about the installation, including the size of the system to be installed. You 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.
You must receive approval for the grant before you start installing your solar panels. When you receive approval, you have 8 months to complete the works. 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 with them.
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.
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 these is a problem with any of the work.