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Domestic application of solar PV systems in Ireland: The reality of their economic viability


  • Li, Zhe
  • Boyle, Fergal
  • Reynolds, Anthony


Renewable sources of energy are anticipated to play a major role in electricity generation in Ireland in the future. Currently, electricity is mainly generated from imported gas and coal due to a lack of indigenous fossil fuel resources in Ireland. Solar energy is omnipresent, freely available and environmental friendly. The utilisation of solar energy to produce electricity has become increasingly attractive worldwide. However, solar electricity generation has not been very popular in Ireland to-date either on a large scale or on a domestic scale. The unclear economics of domestic solar PV systems, under Irish conditions, is considered the biggest obstacle for expanding domestic solar PV system installation in Ireland. This paper presents a methodology to accurately evaluate the economic viability of a domestic solar PV system on a case-by-case basis. The methodology utilises the software programmes HOMER and Microsoft Excel 2007 for the energy and economic analyses. Utilising this methodology, a realistic economic analysis of eight sample domestic solar PV systems available in Ireland is presented. Based on the predictions, the domestic solar PV system is not economically viable under current conditions in Ireland. Domestic solar PV systems still do not look promising even if better financial support is given.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Zhe & Boyle, Fergal & Reynolds, Anthony, 2011. "Domestic application of solar PV systems in Ireland: The reality of their economic viability," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 5865-5876.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:36:y:2011:i:10:p:5865-5876
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Demiroren, A. & Yilmaz, U., 2010. "Analysis of change in electric energy cost with using renewable energy sources in Gökceada, Turkey: An island example," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 323-333, January.
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    3. Kelleher, J. & Ringwood, J.V., 2009. "A computational tool for evaluating the economics of solar and wind microgeneration of electricity," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 401-409.
    4. Rourke, Fergal O. & Boyle, Fergal & Reynolds, Anthony, 2009. "Renewable energy resources and technologies applicable to Ireland," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(8), pages 1975-1984, October.
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