Current fossil fuels like coal and gas for the generation of electricity produce air, water, and land pollution. Solar power is a safe alternative that can replace fossil fuels.


Solar power is energy from sunlight that is converted into thermal or electrical energy using solar panels. Thermal solar panels are used for heating water only whereas Photovoltaic (PV) panels are for electricity generation as well as heating water. 

Why should farmers consider solar power?

  • Solar energy has negligible greenhouse gas emissions.  
  • Excess electricity can be stored in a rechargeable battery for later use and batteries can also provide backup power in the event of blackouts.

In the following video, the farmer provides practical advice based on their farm experience on the use of solar panels.

 Panel Considerations  

The following points should be considered when choosing PV systems to install.

  • Efficiencies will differ depending on the type but look for a minimum of 20%.
  • Check for a minimum of 12-year product warranty, panels should be warranted against damage by ammonia gases and harsh weather conditions.
  • Check for a minimum 25-year linear performance warranty.
  • Check that the solar panels you are purchasing are listed on the  Triple E Register (SEAI)

Economic and Environmental Benefits

Teagasc researchers provided a case study for a 100 cow herd modelled under different scenarios to show potential payback and emission reduction with a solar PV system of either 26kwp or 8kwp capacity.

The economic benefits and emissions reduction of solar PV system

PV Size(kWp)Grant Battery (kWh)Investment (Ex Vat)Value Generated2Payback (Years)Tonnes of CO2 offset
4818%0€10,496€2,7033.9 2.2
1 Scenario 5 and 6 include 60% capital grant on both PV panels and battery storage. Scenario 3 and 6 include battery storage. Scenario 4 includes current SEAI non-domestic micro-gen grant
2 Accelerated Capital Allowance is not included in payback figures
Adapted from (Upton et al., Teagasc 2023)


Research at Farm Zero C

At FZC, a renewable energy plan is being implemented by Wattfootprint. The holistic approach combines solar, wind energy, and efficient use of energy at the farm. The solar system design/size and limiting factors are outlined below.

  • The area of the roof is relatively smaller thus an area of 320sq has been used at FZC.
  • Battery storage was deemed a viable option to act as a buffer between usage and generation.
  • A system orientated east-west would suit the profile of the site due to separate peaks across the day, Generation would be spread and utilised better.

Other  research

Key findings from previous research are as follows:

  • Solar energy is the most cost-effective renewable source of energy and the standalone solar systems are the most practical currently in Ireland as farmers would not be able to inject excess electricity into the grid.
  • Using a case study of a farm with 100 spring-calving herd,  Teagasc, (2021) researchers showed that if a 6Kwp,  is installed for such a farm, 30% of electricity would end up being provided by a renewable source thus offsetting 2.4 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Links to more research 


The following regulations, policy documents and actions apply to solar energy on farms.

Climate Action Plan 2021

The White Paper: Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030

Draft Renewable Electricity Policy and Development Framework (2016)

AgClimatise roadmap– The use of solar energy contributes to action 18 of the roadmap to climate-neutral agriculture.

Action 18: Generate at least a 20% reduction in agricultural energy use by 2030 across all farms. In addition, generate at least 20% deployment of renewable energy technologies focusing primarily on energy-intensive farming systems”

Available support

Grant aid for energy efficiency projects falls under the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). There are a number of funds and support that are available, however, solar is not fundable as a single measure and must be part of a holistic approach to energy efficiency upgrades.

EXEED Certified grant

Better Energies Community grant (BEC)

Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS)

Clean Export Guarantee

ACA (Accelerated Capital Allowance) & Triple E

VAT (Flat rate Farmers)


The link below provides a list of SEAI-approved solar PV suppliers.