Stumbling Towards Solar PV Incentives In Ireland

As a key stakeholder in the Irish Solar Industry, this week is a very interesting one indeed.

Today I travel to a number of meetings with many like-minded people within my industry, to see if we can form a strong, stable and exciting incentive to help us move past the label of Europe’s solar laggards.

Tomorrow I travel to Munich, to Intersolar 2018, where I can discuss with our peers in Europe, suppliers and engineers alike on the deemed successes of solar throughout the continent in the past and the products and strategies of the future.

To see where our industry sits at this moment in time we should see the successes achieved both by us and by our nearest neighbours – Northern Ireland. SEAI have done a great job spreading the word of sustainability throughout Ireland, with grants for almost every useful upgrading measure available. To this end, energy conservation and renewable production has almost become glamorous! You need look no further than Diarmuid Gavin on a Sunday afternoon on RTE to realise that triple glazing, insulation and heatpumps are the fashionable things to go for. When it comes to Solar Thermal, SEAI have truly done their part also. We have upgraded thousands of homes through the grant scheme, and thousands of others simply through the knock on effect of testimonials, advocating the effectiveness of established solar homes. Great products, services and savings are infectious, but sometimes need a push to get over the hump of inertia. In this context, Northern Ireland have taken an approach to incentivise Solar PV. From simply driving the road from Dundalk to Castleblayney, you can see the effects from one incentivised region to another.

For those not familiar with the N53, it turns into the A37 (NI) for 5.4 kilometres. As you drive this small stretch of road, you can see what a difference the PV incentive has made. You will see both social and private housing with systems installed, as well as numerous businesses from petrol stations to bars and shops. All reducing the electricity purchased from the grid, saving money and doing their bit for the environment. Then as you move further down the road onto the N53 again you can see domestic customers availing of solar thermal again in the Republic.

A small PV incentive, similar to that which homeowners can obtain for solar thermal in Ireland would put us in a position to catch up with our European counterparts in the renewable stakes. We already have the governing body in place, along with mechanisms to roll this out extremely efficiently. We have checks in place for trade specific qualifications and insurances to ensure the customer is using a properly vetted company. We already have the vehicles in place to do quality insurance inspections to ensure only high quality installers remain on this grant list. We even have an efficient way of trading carbon credits which could also subsidise installation costs in place. Leaving us with 2 roadblocks;

  1. The lack of an incentive in place for solar PV
  2. The lack of planning foresight for Solar PV, as we are still working from exemptions with solar thermal in mind

Change is difficult. Enacting mass change is harder again. Indecision, plodding progress and fear of change is what has us as Europe’s laggards. On a technology that has proven itself throughout European countries for over a decade now. This stumbling progress to date, has left us second from bottom on a list produced by Europe’s largest NGO coalition Climate Action Network (CAN) on Monday just past (18th June 2018) of countries and their progress toward their 2020 goals. However, the aforementioned structures and processes that we already have in place, allows me to look at the current solar landscape and our ability to move forward with solar PV with positivity.

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.”


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.


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.


Solar Thermal In Spring

We’re nearing the end of February. The fact that almost 2 months have passed in 2017 is newsworthy enough, it’s mad to think that time has gone so fast. With the time of year in mind and spring in full swing, our customers will start to see the production of their solar panels really pick up with the hours of daylight increasing day by day. General temperatures are starting to pick up and although the peak summer months can deliver daily hot water, it is these transitional periods during spring and autumn when the Atlas solar thermal panels really show their efficiency.

Spring And Autumn

These transitional periods bring more hours of daylight, stronger solar radiation and overall better conditions for solar. Our Atlas solar panels, developed in Austria with the Irish climate in mind, are built to maximise their efficiency during these times. Couple this with the extremely well-insulated piping and the optimised Joule cylinders that we install with each installation and you can be confident that each piece of equipment used is part of a system aimed at squeezing every last bit of heat from the solar radiation available.

Seeing The Solar Savings

Recent news articles have shown the dramatic drop in wholesale electricity prices over the last number of years, leading to questions as to why these prices haven’t been reflected in the prices available to customers. It is important to note, that the price of solar energy as it is produced can’t go up or down on a daily, monthly or yearly basis. Why? Because it’s free!
Once the system is installed, the production of hot water over the lifetime of that system is absolutely zero. Zilch. We understand that the initial outlay is of course substantial, but most investments in your home are. The advantages to taking advantage of such an investment include the available grants, the tax-free nature of the savings you make and the reality that inflation can’t effect something that you get for free no matter what happens to consumer prices. We have no mystic macs here at Activ8, but we bet that generally speaking, just like has happened in the last 15-20 years, prices and the cost of heating your water will rise over time.

Our Grants page outlines the process through which you can check if your home is eligible for a grant and what you need to do in order to attain the grant. You’ll soon realise that we help with every step of the process and go as far as processing the grant post-installation but giving you the grant amount off the price of the system, up-front.

250 Years In The Making - Solar Thermal

Solar thermal experiments and "technology" advances have come a long way. How long? 250 years.

In 1767, Horace de Saussure, a noted Swiss naturalist, observed, “It is a known fact, and a fact that has probably been known for a long time, that a room, a carriage, or any other place is hotter when the rays of the sun pass through glass. To determine the effectiveness of trapping heat with glass covers, de Saussure built a rectangular box out of half-inch pine, insulated the inside, and had the top covered with glass, and had two smaller boxes placed inside. When exposed to the sun, the bottom box heated to 228 degrees F (109 degrees C) or 16 degrees F (9 degrees C) above the boiling point of water. de Saussure was unsure of how the sun heated the glass boxes. Today we can better explain what happened. Sunshine penetrated the glass covers. The black inner lining absorbed the sunlight and converted it into heat. Though clear glass allows the rays of the sun to easily enter through it, it prevents heat from doing the same. As the glass trapped the solar heat in the box, it heated up. Its inventor realised that someday the hot box might have important practical applications, as “it is quite small, inexpensive and easy to make.” Indeed, the hot box has become the prototype for the solar collectors that have provided sun-heated water to millions since 1892.

Tried and tested to say the least! Why not get in contact with us and see if you're grant eligible and how solar can help you at home and help you save money too.


Increase In Energy Use In 2015 But Increase In Renewable Energy Too

The official body for sustainable and renewable energy here in Ireland, the SEAI, released their official national energy statistics on November 23rd. The report shows that there had been significant growth in energy use across almost all sectors of the Irish economy in 2015. Energy in Ireland 1990-2015, illustrates the first significant growth in energy use since 2010 at almost 5%. In line with this figure, energy-related CO2 emmissions increased by 6%. Both of these figures are understandably put in the context of strong economic growth in 2015 within the report.

Greenhouse Gas Emmissions

When looking at greenhouse gas emmissions, energy accounts for about 60% of the total. This puts a greater emphasis on the importance of developing low-carbon solutions in this industry for Ireland. Here at Activ8 Solar Energies, we’re obviously already providing this in terms of solar thermal and also solar PV, but we’ll continue to look at developing technologies and how we can help Irish homes make improvements in energy efficiency.

Renewables

Over 9% of Ireland’s energy use came from renewable energy souces, which is great. But we’re still quite a bit off our 16% target which needs to be reached by 2020. Looking at the 9% figure however, this has resulted in almost 4 million tonnes of CO2 being avoided as well a cut-down in over €400m of energy imports.

When it comes to electricity alone, over a quarter of our electricity needs were provided through renewable energy including wind, hydro, landfill gas and bioenergy – with our solar electricity levels at a very low level in comparison to countries with similar climates and circumstances to us. There is optimism that this will grow significantly in the next couple of years. In addition, renewables contributed 5.7% to energy use in transport and 6.5% in the heating sector.

On the SEAI website, Jim Gannon, SEAI Chief Executive said:
“The publication of these energy figures is a timely and pertinent analysis of Ireland’s energy usage following the conclusion of COP22 in Marrakech last week and Ireland’s ratification of the Paris Agreement earlier in November. We are seeing good progress on renewable energy and energy efficiency, however, this needs to be further accelerated to keep pace with higher economic activity and demand for energy. The Government is already responding to this challenge with significant increased funding committed to energy efficiency and renewable heat in Budget 2017. This allows us to build on the progress to date and continue to decarbonise our energy system which will reduce costs, improve energy security and reduce environmental impact.”
Jim Gannon continued: “In 2015 the average household emitted 5.5 tonnes of CO2of which 61% came from direct fuel use in the home and the remainder from electricity use. The transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy system requires the participation of citizens and communities in both decision-making and action. It is vital that we have an informed debate about the choices for Ireland as we move to a low-carbon economy. SEAI is committed to the provision of timely, robust and transparent data to ensure that policy development, decision-making and our energy transition is based on high quality data and evidence.”


What Donald Trump Win Means for Climate Change in Ireland

The Climate Change Fallout of a Trump Presidency

With our friends across the Atlantic Ocean flocking to the polls and electing Donald Trump, the planet and the environmental issues that face us both in the present and the future were not important enough for consideration when Americans were deciding which candidate they voted for. Not only is the election of Donald Trump a disaster for environmentally conscious people in America, it is a disaster for climate change globally. After the tentative but progressive COP 21 event in Paris and subsequent agreement, this is not what our planet needed. We needed forward thinking governments, with like-minded leaders to help move the planet forward with an environmentally friendly, sustainable approach to governing. For all of us in not just the solar industry, but beyond, this election result does not bode well.

Could Donald Trump have been any clearer when we called global warming "a Chinese hoax", before definitively stating that he wants to scrap all of the major regulations that US President Obama put in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for the USA. With a republican congress, he has the power and ability to pass bills to stop a lot of the progress made in the previous presidency. Anyway, why does this matter to us here in Ireland?

Firstly, we all share the same planet, the same atmosphere and the same melting ice caps. What happens in America affects us all. Not only that, if one of the most powerful western countries in the world scraps their climate change efforts, that doesn’t set a great example for smaller western nations like ourselves. If the USA takes Donald Trump's lead and decides to denounce climate change, you can be sure that R&D efforts will drop, clean energy research will drop and future progress in this regard will be slowed. Unfortunately, Donald Trump openly stated he was going to repeal all federal spending on all of these things, such as solar, wind, nuclear power and electric vehicles. With R&D dropping in America as well as future demand for such, it may see the end of the slowly lowering alternative energy prices around the world, including here in Ireland.
The underlying reality is that a Trump presidency will lead to more coal burning, pollution and more CO2 emissions.

Is all hope for clean energy, solar and Irish renewables lost?

No.

Solar Energy in Ireland Will Continue To Grow and It Won't Be Alone

The reality is, solar power, wind power and electric cars have been getting cheaper and cheaper over the past decade and although that has slowed, these renewable energy pillars have become very affordable here in Ireland, so the American federal government won’t be able to change this anytime soon, bad news on that front would be slow. In which case, you would hope the proliferation of all these technologies would outpace such federal resistance in America.

It is also possible, just like past obstacles, that opposition to a figure such as Trump will help galvanise the next generation of clean energy advocates here in Ireland and abroad. Where there is a will, there is a way and people fighting for and towards Irelands obligations in 2020 and beyond will continue to do so with an eye on the COP 21 agreement, rather than the actions of the 45th US President.

It is undeniable that the landscape has changed with one single leadership change, but the reality is, we must continue our renewable energy efforts here in Ireland and keep working with our own government in order to effect change here in Ireland. The support for solar and other clean energy technologies is continuing to grow. With politics changing to a popularity contest, the more popular climate change becomes in Ireland, the more it will seep into Leinster House.

The Irish solar market is in a very healthy state, can we say the same about external optimism for America today?

No.


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 Case Study: An 'Eco Pub' Uses Activ8

Andy's Bar & Restaurant Use Activ8 For Solar During Their Energy Efficiency Improvements

Andy's Bar & Restaurant in Monaghan Town featured in the Irish Independent as one of Ireland's first 'eco pubs'. It was great to see the family owned establishment getting national media attention given their environmental efforts in the running of their business. Something we here at Activ8 Solar Energies got to see up close and personal when we installed the solar thermal system on the roof of their premises in early 2016.

Solar panels on Andy's Bar & Restaurant roof
A dreary installation day in February did nothing to curb the enthusiasm of staff and their energy efficiency and environmental efforts.

Energy efficiency through solar and more

The family began their energy efficiency drive after the Monaghan premises was destroyed in a fire. With support from the SEAI and the cross-border Sustainable Together through Environmental Management (STEM) project. The Redmond family began their work by installing better insulation, it was at this point, that they contacted us here in Activ8 Solar Energies in regards to installing a solar thermal energy system to help reduce their heating bills and increase efficiency in this part of their business.

Their solar thermal energy system was installed on the roof of the premises after our standard technical survey that matched system specification with business need while factoring in the relevant conditions and circumstances. The system consists of 9 Atlas Solar Thermal Collectors, a system substantially larger than our standard domestic system. We pride ourselves on fitting the relevant system for our customers needs and the accuracy to which we can do this.

This was followed by other internal efficiencies, which included replacing glass doors on fridges with more energy efficient efficient doors, showing the extent to which Seán Redmond and his team were willing to go to ensure they continued their efforts to make Andy's Bar & Restaurant a more energy efficient, environmentally friendly business. Too many people look toward the government and its agencies for complete project leadership in this area. This case study is an outstanding example of how a business can improve business efficiency, reduce costs through an environmentally driven efficiency project. It really is a win-win situation.