PV Installations across UCC

29 Jul 2021

With the recent fine weather and sunshine what better time to check in on our existing PV installations across the campus which are outlined in the table below.

Building No of panels Annual kWh generated Installation Date
ORB 30 4,500 2013
Food Science 80 18,500 2016
Aras Na Laoi 8 1,800 2016
William Thompson House 6 3,100 2018
ORB 156 30,000 2020
Total 270 57,900  

Annual electrical use on Main Campus


% of energy supplied from PV's



It should be noted that all the energy generated by the arrays are consumed in the buildings that they are located on and zero energy is exported to the grid.

On an average year we would expect the arrays to generate just under 60,000 kWh, providing around 0.5% of the total electrical load for the main campus site and will give us an average return of investment of 15-20 years.

At this point we have to acknowledge the incredible financial and technical support from the SEAI and the great effort of the minor works team in the Estates office for supporting the roll out of our installations.

O’Rahilly Building Roof.

Our first PV array on site was installed on the roof of the O’Rahilly building in 2012 and is made up of 30 200W rated panels, giving the array a rating of 6 kWp ( the peak kW that can be produced under full solar radiation).

In operation since 2013 the system has generated 37,700 kWh. The image below shows the typical profile of the amount of energy generated over a 12 month period and would be similar to the annual energy consumption of a typical Irish home at 4,500 kWh

ORB monthly generation over a typical 12 month period


In 2020 we added a further 146 panel arrangement across the 2 roof spaces, the largest installation in UCC to date. With a kWp rating of 42 kW the installation is expected to generate over 30,000 kWh annually.


Image of the recently installed PV array in the ORB


Food Science Building

In 2016 a 20kWp array, comprising of 80 250w rated panels was installed on the roof of the Food Science building and produces 18,500 kWh annually.

Image of the 80 panel 20 kWp array on the roof of the Food Science building.


Aras Na Laoi

Installed at the same time as the Food Science array, the Aras Na Laoi installation is located on the roof of the entrance porch to the building. The 8 panel 2 kWp array is clearly visible as you walk past the building and generates around 1,800 kWh annually.

2kWp array installed in Aras Na Laoi.


William Thompson House

In 2018 a 6 panel 4 kWp array was installed on the roof of William Thompson house on O’Donovan’s road as part of a deep energy retrofit and generates a healthy 3,100 kWh per year.

William Thompson House PV array.


Future plans.

All new buidings will have a element of PV installations installed in line with our building design policies (UCC Building Design) and the next significant PV installation will take place on the crows nest student accomodation. We hope to see over 80 solar panels installed on the roof of the student residences which will generate 21,000 kWh anuallly.

Studies have shown that we could potentially install over 1500 panels across our roofs and generate an average 380,000 kWh a year or 3% of UCCs electtrical load. This would involve a significant capital investment with a relatively modest impact on our annual consumption. However as part of our ongoing refurbishment programs we will continue to seek out oppertunites to expand our on site PV generating capacity.