Solar Electric (Photovoltaic/PV) FAQ

Does PV (Photovoltaics) work in Ireland and the UK?

There is an opinion out there that Solar technology would not work in Ireland and the UK, this stems from people thinking that we don’t get enough sunlight in the Summer, never mind the Winter.

This however is not true, Photovoltaic cells work on sunlight as opposed to the heat from the sun. In fact, Ireland has the same annual Irradiation levels as many parts of Central Europe, ranging from 1200 kWhr/m2/yr in the south of the country to 1000 kWhr/m2/yr in the north of the country, a good average for the entire country is 1100 kWhr/m2/yr.

If you consider our typical winters would not be as bad as many parts of Central Europe, our mild climate is ideal for Solar installations, as we never get too hot or too cold and we have good light levels for a large part of the year.

Why should I use PV?

PV IS CLEAN, RELIABLE SOURCE OF ENERGY - Solar PV uses the sun’s energy to generate clean green electricity that can be used directly in place of conventionally generated power in your home or business. It is one of the easiest and most beneficial renewable energy technologies to add to any building, whether commercial or domestic.

SOLAR PV SAVES YOU MONEY - The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) means you get paid for all the solar electricity you generate – for 20 years, it is also index linked. You get paid extra for the electricity you don’t use that is exported to the national grid.

PV GIVES YOU ENERGY SECURITY - You not only save money on your electricity bills, but you are protecting yourself against inevitable price rise from energy suppliers and potential energy shortages in the future.

PV CUTS CARBON EMISSIONS - Each unit of electricity generated by a solar PV system reduces the amount of CO2 that is emitted from conventional power stations. Over 25 years, a 1kWp PV array it will generate over 18,000 units of electricity and save over 10 tonnes of CO2.

PV IS VERSATILE - Solar PV panels can be installed at almost any location; usually mounted on a building’s roof, but they can also be integrated into the fabric of the building, replacing traditional roofing, glazing or cladding materials, or on simple ground-mounted structures.

PV IS MAINTENANCE FREE - PV panels are usually cleaned quite adequately by the rain. As the system has no moving parts it requires no general maintenance and the only projected cost is the replacement of the inverter at some time during the lifetime of the system.

How do you know that the system is taking power from the panels and not the grid?

The system will take power from the PV panels “first” naturally and will only draw power from the grid if there is insufficient power available from the PV panels. The flow of electricity in a system is determined by the electrical potential at all points in the system. The simplest analogy is to think of the flow of electricity in a network of conductors connected to the grid as being like the flow of water through a network of pipes connected to a water main. If there is more pressure in the network of pipes than in the water main, water will flow out into the water main – and vice-versa.

What is the lifetime of PV modules?

PV modules have a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 years and a working lifetime of 40 years and beyond. As the photovoltaic effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon, there is nothing to say that the panels will not continue to create electricity for as long as they are in sunlight. A PV system that is designed, installed, and maintained well will operate very efficiently for at least 25 years. The best way to ensure and extend the life and effectiveness of your PV system is to purchase quality components from a reputable company who will guarantee that your system is correctly installed and commissioned.

How much electricity does a standard domestic house use?

An average house is considered to be 150m2 /1,614sq ft and uses approximately 3,300 kWh of electricity per annum. An energy efficient house uses approximately 1,960kWh per annum. A 1kWp system generates 1,100kWh of electricity per annum (statistics from CareyGlass Solar’s existing installations in Ireland).
A bank of batteries is charged by the solar array during the hours of daylight and the energy stored is utilized whenever required, even at night. The system is often enhanced by a diesel motor-generator to supply peak demands or during periods of poor light conditions.


Solar Hot Water (Thermodynamic) FAQ

Will the Thermodynamic system work in rainy overcast days?

Yes the Thermodynamic Solar system will work in any weather conditions even down to -5 degrees outside.

How does thermodynamic solar work?

Thermodynamic solar is a principal of using refrigerant gas to extract heat from the atmosphere and convert it via a heat exchange process to the water used for bathing , washing, etc.

Does this system have Legionella control?

Yes it has an electric element which can boost the water to 60 degrees C which prevents Legionella if needed.

Do I need to replace my existing cylinder?

No if you have a good quality insulated cylinder we can retrofit into this cylinder.

Do the panels have to be fitted south facing?

No the panels can be fitted at any orientation but preferably south facing is best.

Do I need any special power supply?

No just a normal socket will do.

What is the difference between this system and conventional solar tubes and solar panels?

Solar tubes and solar panels only work with sunshine to produce hot water to 55 degrees , this system will produce 62 degrees hot water in any weather conditions.

Is there any risks of freezing pipes?

No this system using a refrigerant gas in the pipes which will never freeze or over heat.

How does this system guarantee hot water 365 days of year?

By combining the solar gain outside and the mini heat pump compressor raising the temperature of the refrigerant to 110 degrees C , this insures the water in the cylinder will always be heated to 55 degrees C.

Is this system guaranteed?

The panel and cylinder carry a 5 year guarantee and the thermodynamic block carry a 2 year guarantee , we also offer a 2 year guarantee on labour.