John Penny - Home Owner

Our biggest bill was €11.50 on Christmas Eve. My entire bill is just a bit more than that this month’: Meet the home energy savers

Credit: Irish Times, Journalist Joanne Hunt

Summer is here, and with it hopefully some respite for those worried about energy costs. For others, the longer days mean monitoring solar panel apps, timing laundry and guessing their payout from selling electricity back to the grid.

Wexford homeowner Barry Glynn is a big fan of solar panels. Sixteen panels on his southeast-facing roof have grown to 20. “It’s an addiction. You just want more power. I didn’t actually need it, but you just want more.”

Retrofitting his home in Castletown, Co Wexford, wasn’t planned. When, post-honeymoon, he returned to a house flooded by a failed attic water tank, he decided to put the insurance money to good use. It paid to internally insulate the entire house bringing it up to a building energy rating (Ber) of C3. The solar panels from Clover Energy Systems added four years ago brought the house up to a B2.

“It was an investment in the future and in this current environment. By God, for once my decision was correct,” says Glynn.

His numbers are impressive. Along with the panels, Glynn invested in a battery that stores 10kW of solar power. “When the sun sets, the battery kicks in and runs everything in the house,” he says. “We’re in the good months now so from March to October I will buy no electricity.” He and his wife now plan their energy usage around the system. “We do certain things at certain times, it sounds onerous but it’s not. If you do that, you reap the rewards.”

How does it feel knowing his dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, fridge, showers and lighting are all running for free? “It gives you a feeling of being cutting edge. I look at every roof I see now and go, you need to have panels on that.”

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