Almost one in four Irish households use renewable energy, according to Census 2022 data

Big shift away from oil-fired central heating amid growing numbers using solar panels and heat pumps

Almost one in four households use renewable energy, according to the latest Census 2022 findings, which confirm growing numbers have solar panels and heat pumps in their homes.

A question about the different types of renewable energy sources used by households was asked for the first time by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in last year’s study.

It found 119,300 homes in the State are using solar PV panels, some 6 per cent of all occupied dwellings. There were 96,343 households using solar panels for water heating, while 35,603 households used them for electricity.

Solar deployment was most concentrated in Co Meath, where their use was reported by 7,629 homes – 11 per cent of all occupied dwellings. In Dublin City, solar panel use was reported by 6,197 homes, 3 per cent of all occupied dwellings and the lowest proportion nationally.


More than 71,000 households used heat pumps, with 57,198 using the air source variety and 13,958 using ground source.

Dwellings built between the 2016 and the 2022 censuses were more likely to use renewable energy sources (73 per cent) than older homes. Solar panels and heat pumps were much more commonly used than wood, which was by far the most common renewable energy source in Irish households overall – used by 246,255.

There has been a big shift in the main type of central heating used in dwellings built in recent years, the CSO confirms. Historically, oil was the most common type of fuel used for heating, but dwellings built since 2016 were much more likely to rely on electricity, at almost 50 per cent.

Just 10 per cent of dwellings built from before 1919 up to 2015 had electric heating. Oil was much less common in newer properties, being used in 9 per cent compared to 41 per cent of older dwellings.

Around one-third of homes used natural gas to fuel their central heating. This proportion was mirrored among dwellings built since 2016. Very few new housing properties used solid fuels such as coal, peat or wood, while liquid petroleum gas (LPG) was relatively uncommon across all dwellings.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times