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Ireland's Solar Revolution

Photo credit: Neoen Renewables

Irish Solar Energy Association

21 Jun 2023

Scaling new heights in clean energy and redefining our dependency on fossil fuels

The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) announces the launch of their ‘Scale of Solar’ report highlighting the remarkable growth of solar energy in Ireland and its significant impact on redefining our dependency on fossil fuels.

This report sheds light on the country's burgeoning solar capacity and underscores the importance of embracing solar energy as a key driver of Ireland's sustainable future.

As Ireland takes significant strides towards a greener future, the latest findings from the ISEA reveal a substantial expansion in solar power installations across the nation. This notable growth underscores Ireland's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, achieving climate targets, and fostering energy independence.

The report goes on to show that in 2022 and 2023, projects resulting from the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), which is a government initiative that provides support to renewable electricity projects in Ireland, began to energise and Ireland now has 371MW of utility-scale solar connected to the grid. There is now also 5MW of mini-generation projects connected to the grid, which are helping businesses, farms and other commercial operations become self-sufficient in terms of energy use.

The report also highlights how almost 60,000 residential homes in Ireland now have solar panels on their rooftops, resulting in over 200MW being connected to the grid, with up to 500 inform and fit (NC6) applications processed every week.

Thanks to the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS), customers can now get paid for power they sell back to the grid and with the removal of the need for planning permission and introduction of the zero VAT rate on the supply and installation of residential solar panels, it’s never been a better time to invest in solar. 

Speaking about the findings in the report, ISEA CEO Conall Bolger said, "The increasing prominence of solar energy in Ireland marks a significant milestone in our journey toward a sustainable and carbon-neutral future.

“With each passing day, we witness the profound impact that solar energy has on our society, economy, and environment. As we pass June 21st, the longest day of the year, we must capitalise on solar's true potential.

“With almost 700MW connected to the national energy grid, we estimate that solar in Ireland can now generate around 600,000MWh of clean, renewable electricity per year.

“We truly are at the beginning of a solar revolution. From a standing start, solar can scale quickly and we have seen it provide 10% of Ireland’s power already on a sunny day in May this year. As it grows, solar will continue to decarbonise parts of the grid that we couldn’t reach before. Homeowners providing over 200MW of capacity is a benefit that our system is already experiencing.

It is incumbent on all stakeholders to work together to maximise the potential of solar in helping Ireland deliver a decarbonised electricity supply and to achieve the Government’s Climate Action Plan targets of 5GW of Solar PV Capacity by 2025 and 8GW by 2030.”

A spokesperson from ESB Networks had this to say about the findings in the report:

“As we reach mid summers day, almost 700MW of solar generation has connected to ESB Networks system to harness the renewable energy from the sun, this includes 371MWs of utility-scale solar. In context this is equivalent to removing the requirement to run two large gas power stations when it is sunny. The amount of solar connected includes almost 60,000 micro-generation customers who can now receive payments for any excess energy sold back to the grid.”


“By the end of 2023, ESB Networks forecasts almost 1GW of solar will have connected from domestic rooftop to utility-scale solar projects. This makes the solar industry the fastest growing renewable power source in Ireland.


The report, compiled using data sourced from ESB Networks, reveals Ireland's remarkable solar capacity growth, with solar installations multiplying at an unprecedented rate. This demonstrates the strong commitment of individuals, businesses, and the government in embracing renewable energy sources, ultimately leading to a more resilient and sustainable energy system for Ireland.

The increasing deployment of solar energy not only reduces the nation's carbon footprint but also enhances energy security, job creation, and economic growth.


Read the report.

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