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Solar energy is the most important of all renewable energies as the sun provides us with the wind, water flow, and plant growth and heats the ground to provide us with geothermal energy. There are three primary examples of solar energy used in the Irish market today.

Passive solar heating. Passive solar heating is a design approach used by many architects and engineers today to maximise the solar gain of the building by retaining heat through very good levels of insulation and air tightness within buildings. A high degree of comfort can be achieved using controlled heat recovery ventilation systems.

Active solar heating. Active solar heating is the most common and recognisable form of solar heating in the market today, this technology uses solar collectors embedded in or on the roof structure to absorb the energy and pass it directly into the domestic hot water heating systems. This system can provide 50-60% of the average households’ annual domestic hot water consumption. Domestic hot water and space heating can be provided by some forms of solar systems known as combination systems. These are normally sized to provide 30-45% of the annual energy demand of a home. Although less common, these systems suit particularly suit low energy usage homes.

Photo Voltaic systems. Photo voltaic systems (or PV) are systems that convert solar radiation into electricity. We are used to seeing this technology in solar calculators and parking meters. Recent regulations mean that it will soon be possible to connect solar PV systems to the grid opening up a large market potential in the Irish renewable energy industry.

Solar & PV

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