Now ISO 9001:2015 Accredited!

We were truly delighted to announce that we had officially secured ISO 9001:2008 accreditation through the National Standards Authority of Ireland back at the beginning of 2016. We showed through customer testimonials what this quality control meant for our customers. Well, we didn't rest on our laurels.

We went after the ISO 9001:2015 accreditation by going further with our ISO 9001 implementation measures.

ISO 9001 is awarded to companies for exceptional Quality Management Systems, allowing us to further strengthen our reputation within the Irish solar industry for our dedication to quality of service. This is backed up by our stringent process management that guarantees our consistent quality of service with each and every customer, install and project that we undertake.

Acquiring this more up-to-date accreditation was extremely important for us as a company, making sure that we stayed as the only dedicated solar installers in Ireland to receive the ISO mark of quality. After a lengthy process in conjunction with the National Standards Authority of Ireland 3 years ago, an important process for everyone here, it was important for us to strengthen that reputation going forward.

It gives our current customers further peace of mind as to the pedigree of their install, the stability of our guarantees and the standards to which our customer service will deliver if they ever need us. It should also go a long way towards helping any prospective customers make up their mind as to with whom they wish to deal with. We hope this helps establish Activ8 Solar Energies as the industry leader in quality. Quality of survey, design, fit, install and overall service.

With many companies trying to enter the industry on the back of last years SEAI solar PV grant, we hope that people acknowledge the importance of quality and the strict adherence to quality across the many processes here in Activ8 Solar Energies.

For our CEO Ciaran Marron, it echoes the slogan of the company;

"We do not follow standards, we set them!"


UN Panel on Climate Change Releases Scary Report & We Need To Do More

Just two years ago, amid celebrations and excessive PR, the Paris climate accords were signed and we discussed the topic on this very website at the time of the event itself— bringing optimism across the globe, as to the future of climate change and how we, as a planet, would tackle the challenge and make efforts to secure our future on earth.

The goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius was almost immediately shot down by experts as too much and that target itself was completely inadequate.

Now, it’s 2018 and in those two short years, optimism was dropped. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an alarming new report, alluding to how a 1.5° C raise as opposed to 2° C would make a massive difference. A difference that would affect the lives of millions of people. Continuing on our current path, the 1.5° C rise will happen by 2040! It will manifest itself in extreme weather events as well as other drastic changes. All coral reefs would die out, wildfires and heatwaves would sweep the planet and the fluctuations between drought and flooding would severely impact our ability to produce food.

Even here in Ireland, we are seeing these changes happen and the damage they cause. Take our storms over the last 18 months, they are packing more of a punch and happening more often.

Avoiding all of this can’t happen slowly. 2040 is a lot closer than we think! 22 years from now. Remember Riverdance in 1994, that was 24 years ago… You hear people say “where does the time go?” – well, it just passes. With time passing, things tend to passively happen. We cannot passively let our economies continue in the manner that they do. The solar PV grant was announced this year and the household micro-generation it supports is a small measure that can help Ireland towards neutralising and eliminating our carbon footprint, but so much more has to be done.

We need to embrace change. We need to embrace technology. We need to embrace these challenges all over Ireland, together. It is one of the only truly global issues that no one country can eliminate for themselves and not for others. Countries can solve housing issues, poverty, food shortages, wars and more despite the fact that the same issues can exist right across their nearest border. Climate change, global temperatures, extreme weather events will all happen unless we all work towards a cleaner future. It’s unfortunate that other issues can bring the world closer together but our climate challenges cannot. I suppose everyone has to start somewhere, be it renewable energy, cutting down on waste by recycling, burning fewer fossil fuels, using less. That is what we should aim for in Ireland for now. The Irish government has started with renewable energy grants such as this year’s Solar PV and pre-existing supports through the SEAI but this progress should only be backed up with more progression and give citizens the tools and resources to tackle climate change the length and breadth of Ireland, from Mizen Head to Malin Head, Dublin Port to Westport.


Hiring: Accounts Assistant

Accounts Assistant (Maternity Cover)

Job Details:  

  • Part-time
  • Based in Activ8 HQ in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan

We are currently looking to recruit a part time Accounts Assistant to assist the on-site Company Accountant.

Reporting to:

Accounts Manager

Duties:

  • Ensure the timely processing of invoices
  • Assist with supplier statement reconciliations and following up any queries that may occur
  • Prepare payment runs with a high level of accuracy
  • Complete invoicing and credit control tasks
  • Help to complete the month end task list and assist with the management accounts

Requirements:

  • Previous experience in an accounts role
  • Self-motivated with excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent attention to detail and the ability to work to deadlines is key
  • Ability to work on your own initiative and also as part of a team
  • Strong excel skills would be beneficial to your application
  • Working knowledge of Sage accounting is desirable

 

Why Join Activ8?

  • Dynamic, growing company
  • Solar partner of SSE Airtricity
  • Staff Social Club

How to Apply:

Please forward your CV to: hr@activ8energies.com

Closing Date:

Closing date for applications is Monday 1st October 2018.


SSE Airtricity Invest in 40% Stake of Activ8 Solar Energies

SSE Airtricity has entered into an agreement to acquire 40 per cent of Activ8 Solar Energies.

 

Under the terms of the agreement SSE Airtricity will have an option to acquire an additional 10 per cent shareholding in Activ8 Solar Energies after two years. The existing Activ8 management team will lead this business, which will continue to trade as Activ8 Solar Energies. Here at Activ8 Solar Energies, nothing will change in the running of the company on a day-to-day business, except with the aim of growing the business and creating even more local employment.

 

The acquisition is subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and SSE Airtricity and Activ8 Solar Energies expectto complete the process in the coming months.

 

In 2016 Activ8 Solar Energies was selected by SSE Airtricity Energy Services as a preferred partner in the delivery of SEAI-supported domestic and community-based retrofit schemes. Commercially, Activ8 partnered with SSE Airtricity in 2017 to install a 1,400-panel rooftop array covering more than 2,300m2 and generating 420 kilowatt peak (kWp) of solar energy at The SSE Arena, Belfast.

SSE Arena Solar PV Installation
1,448 solar PV Suntech panels on the SSE Arena in Belfast

 

Stephen Gallagher, SSE Airtricity’s Director of Business Energy, said:

“We’re delighted to announce this acquisition by SSE Airtricity of 40 per cent of Activ8 Solar Energies which marks yet another significant step forward in the development of our growing commercial and domestic energy services offering. Activ8 is one of the leading Rooftop Solar companies in Ireland, and since 2016 our two companies have worked in partnership to deliver large-scale deep retrofit projects, whether under the Better Energy Communities programme or with innovative energy-generating installations such as our roof-mounted solar PV array at The SSE Arena, Belfast.

 

“Activ8 has a very strong team which is the driving force behind the company’s success. Now, subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Activ8 and SSE Airtricity are poised to bring our combined strengths and unique offerings to a much-wider domestic and commercial customer base, including SSE Airtricity’s 750,000 energy supply customers across the island.”

 

Ciaran Marron, Chief Executive of Activ8 Solar Energies, said:

“The acquisition being announced today further cements Activ8’s position as one of the leading providers of Rooftop Solar solutions in Ireland. Since 2007, we have successfully grown our electrical contracting business to become one of Ireland’s top installers of solar energy systems. We are proud of our exceptional knowledge and experience in the rooftop solar industry, and particularly of the contribution that our dedicated and highly-skilled workforce of 40 employees have made towards our growth to-date.

 

“This major investment by SSE Airtricity into our business represents an exciting step-forward for the growth of our business and service offering at Activ8, and we look forward to working together with SSE Airtricity as we develop new customer offerings to meet our shared growth ambitions for this rapidly-developing technology sector.”


Post Ophelia & Beast From The East: New Data Confirms Increased Frequency of Extreme Weather Events

Further action urged by European National Science Academies on climate change adaptation.

EUROPEAN ACADEMIES' SCIENCE ADVISORY COUNCIL

 

New data unveiled this week show that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years, with a significant uptick in floods and other hydrological events compared even with five years ago, according to a new publication, "Extreme weather events in Europe: Preparing for climate change adaptation: an update on EASAC's 2013 study" by the European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC), a body made up of 27 national science academies in the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland. Given the increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, the EASAC calls for stronger attention to climate change adaptation across the European Union.

Brexit may be taking up a lot of Irish – European discussions, but we must not only raise the issue at that level, we must act on it intrinsically and support renewable energy sources and climate change efforts here in Ireland itself before lecturing elsewhere. It is up to our leaders and policy-makers to improve the adaptability of our own infrastructure and social systems to a changing climate. I think the appetite in Ireland for this is growing given the recent effects of both Storm Ophelia and the “Beast From The East”.

Natural Disasters Graph

Trends in different types of natural catastrophes worldwide 1980-2016 (1980 levels set at 100%)

Around the world, according to the new data released, the number of floods and other hydrological events have quadrupled since 1980 and have doubled since 2004, highlighting the urgency of adaptation to climate change as the frequency worsens! Climatological events, such as extreme temperatures, droughts, and forest fires, have more than doubled since 1980. Meteorological events, such as storms, have doubled since 1980, you can see this in the photo above. These extreme weather events carry substantial economic costs. In the updated data, thunderstorm losses in North America have doubled - from under US$10 billion in 1980 to almost $20 billion in 2015 and yet the USA and the Trump administration, which we criticised in the past here at Activ8, continue to cut funding for the EPA and climate change initiatives as well pulled out of the Paris COP 21 agreement. On a more positive note, river flood losses in Europe show a near-static trend (despite their increased frequency), indicating that protection measures that have been implemented may have stemmed flood losses. Once again, it may be up to Europe to lead the way.

Professor Michael Norton, EASAC's Environment Programme Director states, "Our 2013 Extreme Weather Events report - which was based on the findings of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute - has been updated and the latest data supports our original conclusions: there has been and continues to be a significant increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, making climate proofing all the more urgent. Adaptation and mitigation must remain the cornerstones of tackling climate change. This update is most timely since the European Commission is due to release its evaluation of its climate strategy this year."

Is a contemporary shutdown of the Gulf Stream (AMOC) possible?

The update also reviews evidence on key drivers of extreme events. A major point of debate remains whether the Gulf Stream, or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), will just decline or could 'switch off' entirely with substantial implications for Northwest Europe's climate. Recent monitoring does suggest a significant weakening but debate continues over whether the gulf stream may "switch off" as a result of the increased flows of fresh water from northern latitude rainfall and melting of the Greenland icecap. EASAC notes the importance of continuing to use emerging oceanographic monitoring data to provide a more reliable forecast of impacts of global warming on the AMOC. The update also notes the recent evidence which suggests an association between the rapid rate of Arctic warming and extreme cold events further south (including in Europe and the Eastern USA) due to a weakened and meandering jet stream.

For us here in Ireland, the devastation that these recent weather events have caused show go a long way to showing us that everyone is being and will continue to be effected by global warming and climate change as a result. If everyone can recognise as much, maybe it's time we all collectively demanded better climate change action from those in power and make the decision to help improve things on a smaller scale. We can't pawn this problem off to future generations, we need to tackle it as quickly as possible. If not today, or tomorrow, maybe The Day After Tomorrow (Pun intended).


Climate Change & The Winter Olympics: How You Can Help From Your Home

I don’t know if you’re the same as some of us here in Activ8 Solar Energies, but we’ve found the Winter Olympics as some great late night TV viewing. All though we sometimes complain about the weather here in Ireland, it’s never quite cold enough to allow us to become Winter Olympics ready. Nonetheless, we watch in awe and the speed and fearlessness that some of the events showcase. We also find ourselves following some of the subplots surrounding the games, renewable energy within the setup being one, but also how climate change is affecting not only this Winter Olympics but also future iterations of the games.

Irish jet-setters generally hit the slopes of Europe for their snow expeditions, rather than the slopes of South Korea. Greenhouse gases emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has so far warmed the world by roughly 1ºC, on average. But the effect has been greater in the ever popular Alps, which has warmed by about 2ºC. Here you will find the Marmolada glacier and with the intensity of these effects mostly in the summer months, the Marmolada glacier is melting and at an alarming rate. Forget the summer for a second, the effects of global warming has also started to have profound effects on winter months and the winter-sports industry as a result.

Daniel Scott of the University of Waterloo, Robert Steiger of the University of Innsbruck, and others, have looked at this future warming in the context of the cities chosen to host the Winter Olympics, from Chamonix in 1924 to Pyeongchang in South Korea currently hosting the event and Beijing in 2022. Even if emissions are cut to meet the target of the Paris climate agreement of 2015, only 13 of the 21 host cities look certain to be cold enough to host snow-sports at all in the 2050s.

The biggest argument against such figures can be the one-off storms, large snowfalls. This is part of the climate change argument also with more extreme weather events happening from time to time as delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year found out with a large snowfall. But the long-term trends are sobering.

In 2007 the OECD, a rich-world think-tank, sounded the alarm. It projected that, of 666 Alpine ski resorts, roughly 40% would no longer get enough snow to operate a 100-day season (a rule of thumb for making money) if the region warmed by another 2°C. Roughly 70% might go if it warmed by 4°C. The German Alps were especially vulnerable. In North America, projections suggest that resorts close to the western seaboard, especially in California, face a ruinous loss of skiing days. Skiing in Australia looks all but doomed.

So while we sit and watch and wonder at the spectacle of it all, we can all make a difference. We might not be able to land the quadruple cork 1980 trick or whatever the man on the TV called it, but we can do our bit for the Winter Olympics starting in our own home by making it more environmentally friendly.


Activ8 Presenting as Industry Leader at Solar Ireland 17

Our very own Gary Connolly presented on Rooftop Solar and the challenges facing us now and in the future at Solar Ireland 17, an event hosted by the ISEA - Irish Solar Energy Asociation. It was great to present on such an important topic as one of Irelands leading solar companies and on such an important issue.

Gary presented on the topic of "Challenges of domestic solar market with no incentive" and was part of a discussion panel that included some fellow industry leaders as we look at the domestic solar landscape in 2017 and the future of it here in Ireland.

 


ISEA


Now Hiring: Fully Qualified Electrician

Fully Qualified Electrician Position

Due to continued expansion Ireland’s largest solar installer now have a position for a fully qualified electrician. We require a customer facing, professional electrician with proven experience to join our team.

The candidate will ideally be based in the North East attending homeowners working on solar PV systems and heating controls and also solar thermal systems.

The ideal candidate must have the following skills and qualifications:

  • A fully qualified Electrician
  • 3 years experience
  • Test and inspect qualifications would be beneficial
  • Willingness to travel to job sites throughout Ireland
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills

Safe Pass, Manual Handling, Working at heights Cert an advantage.

Applicants should forward their CV and cover letter to:

hr@activ8energies.com

Closing Date for Applications is Friday the 13th April.


European Research Council Grant €1.5m to UL Researcher For Solar PV Technology Work

Further growing the trend of energy research in Ireland and Europe as a whole, Micheál Scanlon of UL has received a European Research Council Starting Grant of €1.5 million to further his research into clean energy, specifically pushing the science involved in solar photovoltaic.

The electrochemist is to deepen his research into imitating photosynthesis in the leaves of plants to generate clean electricity. In doing so, he is the only recipient in Ireland in the area of physical sciences. With energy consumption expected to double globally over the next 30 years, it is deemed vital that technologies such as solar PV and the growing research in this area are supported to help Ireland, Europe and the wider world to achieve sustainability.

Within the next 15 years, the solar PV market in Europe alone is projected to be worth €10bn per annum.

The new approach from the UL researcher aims to achieve solar energy conversion using a liquid-to-liquid interface rather than the solid materials used in today's solar PV panels, such as the Suntech panels we use here at Activ8 Solar Energies, which are Bloomberg Tier 1 panels.

“Liquid-liquid interfaces are found everywhere in nature, including in the membranes of cells in plant leaves, which are photosynthetic. There are light-harvesting molecules called chlorophyll in these membranes.

“The liquid-liquid interfaces I use have the fantastic ability to trap and bring molecules together, especially molecules that are similar to chlorophyll. By coating these interfaces in all sorts of light-harvesting molecules, I can create an artificial photosynthetic membrane capable of producing energy.”

The funding grant will go to assisting Dr. Scanlon’s goal to study the interaction of light with the artificial photosynthetic membranes he is creating.

It is important that we continually push the boundaries of research in the area of clean energy here in Ireland. In the meantime, it’s just as important that we use the technologies available to us now to help protect the environment. What’s more, the ability to save money on your electricity bills puts Irish homeowners in the unique position of being able to save money in the long-term while also helping protect the environment!


While Donald Messes It Up Again, Let’s Make The Planet Great Again

Trump Pulling America Out of The Paris Agreement

Donald Trump is making a mockery of our planet, its future and also the underlying theme of “Make America Great Again”. By pulling America out of the Paris Agreement, he is making America’s outlook on science, technology and green energy “draconian”. The word he used to describe the measures within the agreement itself. After America making exceptional progress in clean energy through solar, wind, tidal and many others, Donald Trump is hell bent on turning back the clock in America. But in doing so, he is completely contradicting what made America a great nation in the past.

History of America Investing In Science & Technology

He refers to making America great “again”, but the reasons for which America was once considered a great nation, is because they invested and championed scientific and technological innovation. There are many examples of this, but one in particular brings us a timeline of how American investment in these areas has brought us to this point in time. Some of America’s most successful and brightest minds, who now publicly lead the calls for investment in clean energy were created through similar scientific and technological investment more than 50 years ago.

I recently read a book called Creativity Inc. In it, author and co-founder of Pixar, Ed Catmull talks about how decades ago in the face of global unrest, tensions with Russia and other global issues that troubled America and allies, the American government decided that it would become great through science, engineering and technology. Ed Catmull himself ended up going back to grad school at Utah and participated in ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency.

“The creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was authorized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 for the purpose of forming and executing research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science” - Dwight D. Eisenhower and Science & Technology, (2008).

They poured millions of dollars into ARPA and similar initiatives that sponsored post-graduate collegiate programmes such as the one Ed Catmull found himself in. The definition above outlines their focused ambition on science and technology. They also did this, without giving specific direction. Instead, they trusted the budding young minds and leadership skills of scientists and entrepreneurs across America. These were the people tasked with moving America forward. Making it great even.

With Ed Catmull, he ended up making advancements in computer graphics and soon after, we ended up with Pixar. I presume the American government didn’t have computer graphics on the top of their list of priorities, but it became a global leader in a new market. Within this context, but covered in another fantastic book (Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell), the advancements made in computer science through this investment led to an opportunity for 3 men born within 6 months of each other in 1954 and 1955 – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Bill Joy. The opportunities they had in their late teens was to continue the revolution for America in these areas. The great technology feats of these men have directly led to a lot of technologies we use on a daily basis. You’re reading this on a device using technologies they’ve built or helped shape and more than likely through the internet, a technology that Bill Joy shaped with his UNIX servers.

It’s a long-winded explanation, but of the men I’ve just named above, two are alive and both of them are thought leaders and real champions of clean energy, with Bill Gates strongly advocating solar energy. And that brings us to right now. Donal Trump wants to make “America Great Again” and Emmanuel Macron has hit back with the notion that we need to come together to “Make Our Planet Great Again”.

But outside of this political jousting, we need to listen to our brightest minds, the people at the forefront of present science that are desperately trying to forge a future for the science and technologies that truly will make our planet great.

So while Donald misses the point of what made America a great nation in decades past, we need to look to those who were involved in the advancements of yesteryears breakthrough technologies. Because right now, the technologies we need are in clean energy, sustainable energy systems and beyond.

We will do this with or without the United States of America, but the underlying context of division and “sovereignty” Donald Trump is leading is disappointing and unsettling.

In the face of global climate change fears, just like many other global issues we face today; unity is what we really need.