Activ8 Play Installation Role in SVP Energy Upgrade Scheme In Limerick

St Patricks Court Limerick housing scheme receives energy upgrade through retrofit project 

As the solar partner of SSE Airtricity, we were only delighted to be involved in such a wonderful scheme that will truly make a difference. As installers on the project alongside SSE Airtricity Energy Services, the Society of St. Vincent De Paul and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), this project focused on keeping homes warm through the winter of 2019 and beyond with the completion of this energy project in Limerick city. 

In Garryowen, the residents of St Patricks Court will see energy consumption being reduced by almost 50% as part of this retrofit project.  

There were 13 properties making up the project, all of which were built over 50 years ago and therefore had poor BER ratings, with solid concrete walls and single glazing windows. The majority of the tenants have come from the nearby SVP emergency homeless hostel accommodation and the properties had no energy upgrades since they were constructed. Following the final installation of the solar PV panels, the homes BER uplift came from a G right up to A3, savings thousands of euro in annual energy costs and making the homes much healthier and cosier to live in. 

The project was co-founded by SEAI and SVP and delivered by SSE Airtricity Energy Services and Activ8 Solar Energies with upgrades on home heating, solar PV installation and external insulation. Part of the funding came through the SEAI and their Community Scheme with support from the government, which aims to improve energy efficiency in Irish communities. 

Reflecting on 2019, this scheme has allowed us, alongside our partner, SSE Airtricity, to team up with local authorities, approved housing bodies and community groups to deliver energy improvements to domestic and fuel poor homes around Ireland. 

Stuart Hobbs, Head of SSE Airtricity Energy Services, said, “We’re proud to partner with St. Vincent de Paul and the SEAI, and to help some of Limerick’s most vulnerable residents feel warmer and safer in their homes this winter. This project will reduce the resident’s energy costs while also helping cut carbon emissions from their homes. 

At SSE Airtricity we know the value of helping Irish homes and businesses go green and how that can have a positive impact on Ireland’s 2030 climate goals,” Hobbs added. 

John Randles, Head of Delivery in SEAI said, “This year, SEAI is supporting 57 projects under our communities’ scheme with over €25 million in government funding. We are delighted to see projects like the collaboration between SSE Airtricity, St. Vincent de Paul and St Patricks Court Limerick at completion.” 

 


Activ8 Solar Energies Awarded ‘Best Solar Energy Solutions Provider 2020'

Activ8 Solar Energies awarded ‘Best Solar Energy Solutions Provider' in the 3rd annual Irish Enterprise Awards

We are absolutely delighted to announce that we have received this award on behalf of all our hard working staff

It would be remiss of me to receive this award without a tone of caution in writing to our customers and followers as we celebrate this accolade. This award is down to the hard work and consistency of our staff over many, many years. This will be the 14th year of existence for what is Activ8 Solar Energies and while this award is directly attributable to our current staff, their efforts have been built upon the foundations of many previous staff members and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, both current and past.

 

However, with the recent spread of COVID-19, these are uncertain times for businesses, but also for our families. We should all continue to follow expert advice from the HSE and informed government sources, as we are doing here in Activ8 Solar Energies.

 

It is with this recent challenge and also this particular award, that we all look back on the growth of Activ8 Solar Energies over a fantastic 14 years and realise that as Irelands largest solar installer and with the backing of our partners SSE Airtricity that we are in a position to continue to help our customers as much as we possibly can and that we will continue to drive forward the renewable energy efforts in this wonderful country of ours.

 

With that said, I want to thank all of our wonderful staff and wish health upon their families in the near future and the hope that our normal routines will seem to resume just as quickly as they have left us.

 

Kind regards,

Ciaran Marron
CEO
Activ8 Solar Energies


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!"


A Personal Thank You

A Personal Thank You

The last few days have been very active on the commercial front for myself and my family with the announcement that SSE Airtricity has invested in a 40% stake of Activ8 Solar Energies. As a result, I didn’t quite have the chance to sit down and actually take in the momentous occasion. However, the calls and messages I have received from friends and family far and wide have been truly heartwarming.

I firstly want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that a lot of the people doing so have played important roles in helping Activ8 become what it is today. Those closest to me are acutely aware of the journey endured in getting to this point, but sometimes overlook the importance of their contribution through what they’ve said and what they’ve done in helping make Activ8 the company it is today.

With that, Orla and I want to personally thank all of our family and friends from the bottom of our hearts for everything. Equally, I want to thank our current staff for continuing to do their best to help Activ8 grow on a daily and monthly basis in what is a very exciting 2018. I also want to thank all of those who checked in and out of Activ8 HQ in the past, for however long, for their hard work and buying into the Activ8 vision over the years.

I am very excited for what 2018 holds for Activ8 Solar Energies and with the support of SSE Airtricity, the sky sun is the limit.

 

 

 

Ciaran Marron
CEO


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.”


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.


Activ8 Supplier, Wuxi Suntech, Awarded "Top Brand PV" by EuPD Research In Germany

Our solar PV panel supplier, Wuxi Suntech has been awarded “Top Brand PV” seal from EuPD Research in Germany

Wuxi Suntech, Activ8 Solar Energies primary solar PV panel supplier has recently received high recognition for the quality of the product they provide. The quality of their components is precisely why we use their solar photovoltaic panels. It's also important to note that we have been using them more and more lately, as the Irish solar PV market continues to grow. The Irish solar thermal market continues to be much stronger on the domestic side of things, but commercially, businesses all over Ireland are beginning to invest heavily in solar PV.

According to the recommendation of PV installers and intermediaries in Germany and Holland, Suntech has become the first Chinese PV enterprise to win this honour. China is a key driver of solar photovoltaic technology and a powerhouse in the manufacturing of such. With the standards differing so much, it is important to note that Suntech's panels are Bloomberg Tier 1 standard, the highest possible standard and the only standard that we'll ever use here at Activ8.

EuPD Research Institute's latest “Top Brand PV” Award reflects only the highest quality of products within the global PV industry and it further strengthens our trust in and relationship with Wuxi Suntech, one of the largest clean energy companies in the world.

The independent TOP BRAND PV industry seal is based on an annual multi-level analysis of qualified statements in regards to brand perception, brand management and market penetration from installers and intermediaries based in Germany, the UK, Italy and the Netherlands. With this in mind, it is with great pleasure that as one of the largest solar companies in Ireland, we use Suntech products within our growing solar PV department.

EuPD Research is a neutral research institution which has won great reputation among European PV industry, so this reward represents a significant achievement for the Chinese brand in Europe. Last year, recognition showed to some of our other partners was also covered in our Solar News section and you can find the link for this by clicking here.
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Activ8 Solar Energies Secures 100% Customer Satisfaction Rating From IWA

Activ8 & IWA

Activ8 Energies works with IWA for our Insurance Backed Guarantees. We received our 2016 customer satisfaction rating of 100% on our Quality Installation Survey. This rating comes from independent, third party customer satisfaction reviews over the course of the year and after 99% in 2015, 2014, 2013 and years previous to this. This customer satisfaction is great news for everyone in our business, because here at Activ8 Energies, we believe that every single employee is responsible for our customer service and reputation.
After attaining our ISO 9001 accreditation for Quality Management Systems at the beginning of 2016, this recent rating backs up our dedication to the quality of service we try to deliver on a daily basis.

What IWA Means For Our Customers

The importance of IWA to our customers. The IWA third party warranty guarantees the investment of each of our customers if anything were to happen to Activ8 Solar Energies. As IWA state themselves:

“A company may cease trading due to insolvency, compulsory or voluntary liquidation, bankruptcy, death or retirement of all the principals. Whatever happens, an Insurance Backed Guarantee sets out to honour the terms of the guarantee, originally issued by the contractor.”

- IWA Website

As with all of our suppliers, our products, and our service, quality is the most important factor for us here at Activ8. That is why our panels are produced by the world leading producers. Why should our insurance backed guarantee be any different? That is why we are partnered with IWA. There are many providers offering Insurance Backed Guarantees but not all of them are specialists in the home improvement industry. A closer inspection of their small print may reveal hidden clauses or jargon that does not offer comprehensive protection.
IWA, on the other hand, has been in operation since 1985 and is the market leader in guarantee insurance and deposit protection. As a leader in helping the home improvement industry better its own standards, the company introduced the IWA Approved Trade Member Scheme.
Each trader applying is checked on their qualifications, expertise, financial security and track record for best service. The most important aspect for Activ8 Solar Energies, is that this is checked on a continuous basis through regular customer feedback to ensure that the high standards are maintained by each IWA approved company.
With these continuous checks comes the yearly satisfaction ratings from Activ8 customers. It is for this reason that we’re overwhelmed with our 100% customer satisfaction rating for 2016 through our Quality Installation Survey. In line with this award, as the pioneers of the one-day install, we show that even though we can get the job done quickly, we do it with exceptionally high standards of quality.

The IWA warranty brings a high level of security for home-owners making an investment in solar with Activ8 Solar Energies. When comparing us to other suppliers or smaller operators that may be able to offer the same service for less money, maybe consider their ability to offer third party insurance guarantees from the likes of IWA as well as the aforementioned ISO 9001 accreditation we received earlier this year.

Value For Money

For the better use of a cliché, you get what you pay for. When you’re receiving a 100% independent customer satisfaction rating for the work in the Irish solar industry, you must be doing something right.

“If any contractor/supplier employed by the customer for home improvement work ceases to trade, the insurance backed guarantee (IBG) certificate will protect their investment.”

- IWA Website


Activ8 Working With The Worlds Largest Solar Thermal Manufacturer

Activ8 Solar Energies Decade Long Partnership With GREENoneTEC

Activ8 Solar Energies has been working with GREENoneTEC for over 10 years, with Activ8 CEO Ciaran Marron establishing the relationship back in 2006. It proved be a very successful relationship for both parties. During the intervening time, GREENoneTEC has become the largest supplier flat plate solar panels in the world while Activ8 became the largest solar installer in Ireland also. With the world’s largest international study on the World Solar Thermal Industry recently releasing its results confirming that GREENoneTEC is still the market leader, our Austrian partner shows no signs of letting their position slip.

This success can be put down to numerous factors, but one thing that this relationship shares in its core, is quality. GREENoneTEC develop and deliver high quality products and when Activ8 visited Austria to meet and discuss the harsh Irish weather conditions, we were able to design and develop a panel for just those conditions. With this, the Atlas Solar Panel was born, our exclusive flat plate solar collector. GREENoneTEC production capacity is currently at 1.6 m² and that production comprises of more than 100 customer-defined collector variants and related mounting systems – one of which is the aforementioned Atlas Solar Panel designs, designed with the Irish weather in mind.

GREENoneTEC HQ

Over 7,000 solar panel installations later, it is one of the most used solar panels on Irish roofs. When you consider that many homeowners go for the cheaper option of evacuated tubes, it becomes one of the most popular solar options around the country. It is easy to see why many choose to pay more initially, for higher quality products. With longevity, something that the Atlas solar panel is known for, the initial extra cost in choosing a higher quality solution is wiped out with additional savings as well as the peace of mind that the products durability brings.

I don’t know if there is a better way to showcase the durability of the Atlas solar panel used by Activ8 Energies, than to put a rally car on top of the panel. Do not try this with tubes!

Rally car on solar panels

Solar Thermal Outlook

Looking ahead to 2017 and the growth of many forms of solar, including Solar PV, many would think that solar thermal is in danger of losing its top spot here in Ireland. This isn’t the case. Solar thermal is still the most cost effective form of solar here in Ireland. And with recent news that the HRI Scheme is being extended until the end of 2018, the solar thermal industry in Ireland is still growing. As for our partnership with GREENoneTEC, it’s just as strong.


Solar PV 56 kWp System Installed in Courtown Co. Wexford

One of our most recent installations, a 197 solar PV panel installation in Courtown, Co. Wexford is an indication of where the future of energy is heading here in Ireland. Solar panel installation continues to grow and the expected production of our system at Courtown Leisure Centre can act as a case in point of how commercially viable solar photovoltaic has become for Irish businesses looking to consolidate their future expenses when it comes to electricity and energy. You can watch the production of this system at the bottom of this post.

The Solar PV Process

After a successful tender for the contract on the Courtown Leisure Centre, we worked through the half hourly readings and along with CKEA (Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency) to optimise the size and set up of this heavy consumer of electricity.

The leisure centre themselves had already taken numerous progressive steps to reduce their consumption over the past year, shaving their peak consumption from an average of 93kVA right down to 71kVA. Not happy to sit on their laurels, they pushed on to apply for an SEAI grant for the installation of a solar electric system and with the help of CKEA they were successful in their bid.

Solar PV Specification

With this 56kWp solar PV system, Courtown will reduce their energy consumption by over 40,000kWhr’s (units of electricity) on a yearly basis. Due to the utilisation of Enphase Micro Inverters on this job, this system is guaranteed to continue production of electricity for at least 20 years, which leaves the leisure centre with the peace of mind that they have locked in the cost of approx. 800,000kWhr’s. So no matter what price electricity goes to over the next 20 years, Courtown Leisure Centre have secured approximately 40,000units of electricity per year, for the next twenty years at approximately 5cents.

In the short 18 days of October, the system has generated as much to offset the planting of 38 trees. To put that into perspective on a yearly basis, the installation of this solar system is equal to planting over 800 trees per year, for the next 20 years. Truly cementing Courtown Leisure Centre as one of the greenest and environmentally conscious in Ireland and a solar PV champion.

The installation consisted of 197 solar panels (generating DC electricity), and 197 micro inverters (converting DC to AC electricity) all mounted on a standing seam mounting system. The installation took 4 days, with the majority of the heavy lifting completed in just 2 days. With Solar PV looking to become a larger part of the Irish lexicon over the next five years, it really is great to see SEAI supporting such a system and CKEA helping a forward thinking business such as Courtown Leisure Centre become early adopters to what is sure to become the future of energy in Ireland.

Live Enphase Monitoring

When we had a look at the live monitoring of the system through Activ8 Energies and Enphase. For anyone not familiar with the equivalent units of electricity produced, look at the handy infographics provided. As an example, the 194kWh produced on Sunday October 2nd is the equivalent of the power produced by 64,689 AA batteries.