What Apples €13 Billion Could Do For Irish Homeowners, Even Clear 30 Years of Water Charges!

In the wake of the European Commissions recent ruling of €13 billion tax payments owed to the Irish government, we decided we would put that figure into context that we here at Activ8 Energies and the citizens of Ireland would understand. Heating and powering your home can cost a lot of money, not quite in the billions though, so let’s see how the magnitude of such a sum compares to expenses within Irish homes. In the interest of balance, we won’t even mention solar.

The average cost of heating and electricity bills here in Ireland comes to €2,300 per year per household. If we took the €13 billion and gave everyone a dig out with their heating and electricity bills, we could pay for every single house in Ireland, for nearly 3 and a half years.

Let’s go one better, water charges. What if the European Commission and the Irish government decided to take the €13 billion and put it against the current household charges for water? We take the €160 & €260 charges and take €210 as an average per home for water? It would cover the water charges for the next 30 years at the current rate. 30 years! We could revisit the topic again in 2046. Thanks Apple.

Or we could look at making every home in Ireland more sustainable and efficient. With €13 billion, we could provide every home in Ireland with a high quality solar panel system and an upgrade on their current boiler. While we’re on the topic of sustainability, this figure would allow the government to give 1/3 of the countries households a new Nissan Leaf pushing Ireland in front as the world’s leading electric vehicle adopter per head of population without a doubt. We would become an even greater little country.
The figure is big, €13 billion. But we haven’t actually come across many outlets writing the number as it is. It almost makes more of an impact doesn’t it?

€13,000,000,000
What if the government took this €13bn and decided to supplement existing programmes and schemes? We can only look at our own industry and provide context that way, if we were to apply this figure to the SEAI grants, something we process on a daily basis, it would singlehandedly multiply the amount of grants issued by the SEAI from 2009-2016 by 67.

*Based off CSO figures in 2015.


Telesales & Call Centre Positions

We are currently looking for telesales personnel to join our busy Marketing Department and Call Centre. Applicants must have a professional telephone manner. Some experience would be an advantage but not essential as training will be provided.

Join our established telesales department and become part of an exciting team here in Carrickmacross and benefit from the full Activ8 Solar Energies package including social club and activities as well as favourable working hours in an exciting and fun workplace environment.

Please forward your CV to: aishling.smyth@activ8energies.com

For more information on the position please contact Aishling now on: 042 9690352

Closing date for applications is Friday 9th September.

Activ8 Solar Energies was established in 2007 having been previously known as Ciaran Marron Electrical from 2004. Since this distinct move, we are proud to have become Ireland’s number one installer of solar energy systems. In the solar industry for over 15 years the directors of Activ8 Solar Energies have gained their unrivaled knowledge and experience through the installation of over 7,000 systems supplied and installed across Ireland and the UK. In late 2015, the company gained ISO 9001 accreditation for Quality Management Systems directly reflecting the nature of how we run operations here in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. This is an excellent opportunity for the right person to excel in a position directly communicating with customers and potential customers on a daily basis.


Solar Thermal Service & Survey Engineer Position

Solar Thermal Service & Survey Engineer

 

Due to continued expansion Ireland’s largest solar installer now have a position for a Solar Thermal Service & Survey Engineer. We require a customer facing, professional service engineer with proven plumbing and heating skills to join our team.

The candidate will ideally be based in the North East attending homeowners working on solar thermal systems and heating controls, daily duties will include performing routine preventive maintenance tasks along with reactive maintenance on the systems. The role will also include site surveys for new installations ensuring our installation teams are fully equipped for our pioneered one-day install.

The position would suit an experienced plumber or heating engineer who has experience of service and maintenance of hot water cylinders and unvented systems with working knowledge of solar thermal and heating controls.

The ideal candidate must have the following skills and qualifications:

  • A fully qualified Electrician/Plumber/Engineer
  • Previous experience in Solar Thermal, Boiler and Heating control installations
  • Electrical experience is essential
  • Willingness to travel to jobsites throughout Ireland
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Competent computer skills
  • A full clean driving Licence

 

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

Remuneration

  • Salary negotiable
  • New Company Van
  • Company Phone
  • Company Tablet/Laptop
  • 20 Days Holiday + Bank Holidays
  • Social Club

 

Applicants should forward their CV and cover letter to:

 

hr@activ8energies.com

Closing Date for Applications is Friday the 9th September

 


Using Recent UK Renewable Developments as an Irish Solar Case Study

Using the UK as a Case Study for Irish Renewables

Although we may not agree with everything that is done across the Irish Sea, we have to admire the UK's commitment to renewable energy production. Through our sister company, Solar NI, we have been able to play a small part in the recently released figures that showed renewable energy accounting for more energy production than coal, for the first time in history.

The UK are no different to ourselves, in relation to clean energy production targets in 2020 and follow up targets in 2030 arising from the COP21 agreement in Paris of last year. What is different, is the highly incentivised subsidy support in the UK driving technologies such as solar into the mainstream in the past 10 years through numerous government driven schemes. Combine these subsidies with the reduced cost of solar pv and you have an astoundingly competitive electricity and energy production option, in your own home. For free!

With renewables playing such an important role in 2015, out-performing coal in the process, recent news surrounding the future cost of solar and wind in comparison to nuclear has had a direct impact on the development of the Hinkley Plant in the UK. A recent delay on its go ahead has shown that the predictions for renewables combined with their present efficiency has really started to impact the decision making processes at the very top. An unpublished government report in the UK has calculated how large-scale solar pv and wind power will be considerably cheaper to produce than nuclear by the time the aforementioned Hinkley plant is up and running. Figures revealed in a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) in the UK are forecasting large-scale solar power to cost between £50 and £75/MWh by 2025. Nuclear power on the other hand is expected to cost between £85 and £125/MWh by the same date. The UK government has already agreed a guaranteed purchase price of £92.50/MWh with developers of the Hinkley plant for the nuclear power produced.

This is an important development for us here in Ireland, as we look to our counterparts here in Europe for evidence of successful energy strategies. It is also important because of the electricity we import from the UK through the East West Interconnector that ultimately comes from these exact energy sources we have already discussed. In an ideal world, we would become self-sufficient through our own renewable energy infrastructure here in Ireland. The scope for which, with large-scale solar pv cheapening over time, is hopefully starting to prick a few ears at the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resourcesin Dublin. We can at least take confidence from the success of solar farms in the UK, with the proliferation of such starting to gather pace here in Ireland, a small push from the government in relation to this could really give our own national grid a real shot in the arm. But we wait and see.

On a smaller scale, Part L regulations and the renewable energy aspect of such, has seen a lot of new housing developments take advantage of solar pv to bolster their green credentials while adding value to each property also.

All solar developments in the UK should be closely watched by the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources as it provides us with a solid case study in relation to how we should really start to engage with large-scale renewable energy projects with a view to both our 2020 and 2030 targets. We here at Activ8 Solar Energies can speak from experience when we say that the Irish people have been pushing it on a smaller scale for well over a decade. Our 7,000 installations to date prove such.


Solar Plane Completes Round The World Flight

History was made on Tuesday morning, when a solar-powered aeroplane completed its round the globe flight by landing in Abu Dhabi. The entire journey was powered exclusively by the sun’s energy. The main purpose of this 42,000 km long voyage was to make people aware that the world’s energy needs can be met through the use of renewable sources of energy, including harnessing the sun’s power by means of solar panels. In this way, the world’s rapidly depleting natural resources can be spared and future generations can live better quality lives in a much cleaner world.

To Boldly Go...

Piloted in turns by engineer André Borschber and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, this Swiss-engineered Solar Impulse 2 plane is powered by a total of 17,248 solar cells which work in order to ensure that as much sunlight as possible is captured. The plane’s wingspan has a 236ft long stretch, slightly wider than that of a Boeing 747. The aircraft’s propellers run on four lithium polymer batteries during night hours. Bear in mind that these batteries are charged with the sun's energy harnessed by Solar Impulse 2’s panels during the day, so the plane is still technically using only the sun's power as its fuel source. Surprisingly, Solar Impulse 2 is an extremely lightweight aircraft, weighing around 2.3 tonnes, about the same weight as a mini-van. By contrast, the similarly wingspanned Boeing 747 weighs more than 150 tonnes.

During its 42,000 km long journey, the Solar Impulse 2 plane made stops in several different countries including China, Oman, Spain, Burma, India, Japan, Italy, Egypt and the United States before completing the final leg of its journey and touching down in the United Arab Emirates.

The plane’s 118 hour-long flight over the Pacific Ocean earned Solar Impulse 2 a place in the history books as the longest flight of any aeroplane flying solo over the Pacific. Another unique record which was made by this aircraft during it’s around the world journey was that it became the first ever solar-powered plane to cross the Atlantic Ocean – a feat which took about 70 hours.

Solar Impulse 2 Cockpit

As Solar Impulse 2 does not have a fully pressurised cockpit, its pilots were directly influenced by the temperatures of the areas the aircraft passed through. During the more gruelling sections of the journey, such as passing through the hottest parts of the Middle East, the pilots had to wear oxygen masks.

With no room on board to take a walk or do any proper exercise, the seats of this single-seater plane could be reclined so that the pilots could have a stretch in order to keep their blood flow at natural levels and avoid cramps. Removing the cushions over the seats gave the pilots access to a toilet (it wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done!). In terms of security measures, if the plane’s instruments sensed that it was drifting off course or losing altitude, signs that the pilot had fallen asleep, alarms would go off, while special armbands would vibrate in order to wake him up, negating the risk of catastrophe.

The Ushering in of a new Solar-Powered era

Pilots Borschberg and Picard have proven that solar power really is a versatile and forward-thinking means of energy production which has virtually limitless possibilities. Here at Activ8 Energies we would like to extend our utmost congratulations to these two intrepid adventurers. Their relentless endeavour is an inspiration to us all as we continue pushing solar power beyond what convention once thought was its limit.


New Name For Department Sees Climate Change Importance Grow in Government

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Denis Naughten said the department would be known as the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the transfer of functions from the previous Department of Environment, Community and Local Government was completed. Mr Naughten said the transfer of the environment function allowed the synergies between climate and sustainable energy policy to be fully realised.
“It brings a coherence across the various policy areas involved, and will ensure that Ireland addresses the challenges in ways that are technically feasible, cost-effective and fair in terms of Ireland’s contribution to the overall EU ambition.’’

Mr Naughten said the Government would continue to strive to protect Ireland’s energy supply, generation, security, affordability and sustainability, and to ensure Ireland complied with international energy and climate-change policies. The Minister was replying to Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, the very man that opened the Activ8 Solar Energies headquarters in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan all of 7 years ago. Eamon Ryan has said including “environment’’ in the title would allow Mr Naughten in his ministerial duties to “grab the power and grow the department, to strengthen and empower it within Government’’.

We tend to agree with Mr. Ryan to the extent that not only should the word “environment” be included in the title of the department, it should be intertwined throughout each department, rather than isolated on its own. However, this move will allow Minister Naughten to approach other departments in his ministerial position with a view to discussing the impact renewable energy may have on their day-to-day operations and where improvements can be made. This can only be seen as a positive step in relation to the growth of the solar power industry in Ireland. Although steps have already been realised in this regard, with state bodies including solar pv on new builds of all descriptions, from schools to council buildings, it is important that we keep pushing the potential of solar pv for electricity generation in Ireland given our generous annual solar yield and ability to produce substantial amounts of solar electricity from solar pv systems across the country, with the highest yields experienced in the sunny South East.

Although solar isn’t the only show in town, it is important to note the ministers hesitations in relation to wind turbines. The Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources said he accepted a significant number of people had objections to wind turbines, with a view to further consultation on the technology and infrastructure. "There is an issue in relation to wind turbines, there is absolutely no doubt about that," he said. "We also have the potential rollout of solar power as well, in relation to electricity generation," he added. The latter part of this statement bodes well for solar growth in Ireland.


Activ8 Solar Energies Feature at Reception of NSAI ISO9001 Certification Event

Our General Manager Aidan Marron, along with our Installation Manager Stephen Duffy, attended the recent NSAI event where a number of companies were awarded their NSAI certificates. We were there to collect our ISO 9001 Accreditation for our Quality Management Systems. This event was used by the NSAI to showcase the direct correlation between companies who have received certification and their operating profit and growth.
We can only speak of our own experience. We would agree with the results of the study whilst also wanting to shed some light on how the process improvements involved in readying the company are what actually result in company growth and profit improvements.

We can only speak in relation to our own experience within the solar industry, but when it comes to an investment such as solar panels, we feel that customers will look towards our NSAI certification and no that they are dealing with a company that puts quality at the forefront of everything they do. Here at Activ8 Solar Energies, our ISO9001 accreditation for Quality Management Systems is proof. Proof that whatever stage a customer is at, they are involved in a process that some 7000+ customers have gone through, allowing us to refine and perfect our own processes for a better customer experience as they purchase a solar system from us.

This certification is one that we are very proud of, given that we are the only dedicated solar installer in Ireland to achieve ISO9001. Something that sets us apart from competitors and gives our customers reassurance that their investment in solar panels with Activ8 Solar Energies, is a safe investment.


The Future of Green Energy in The Emerald Isle

Renewed doubt has been cast over Ireland’s ability to meet sustainable EU greenhouse gas targets for 2020 with emissions across the transport and agriculture sectors set to increase over coming years.

 

With emissions attributed to the transport and agriculture sectors set to increase over the coming years, our ability as a nation to meet the specified EU greenhouse gas targets for 2020 has been brought into question once again by the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

Their latest report outlines how full implementation of our current energy efficiency and renewable fuel energy policies will still see Ireland fall short of our targets in 2020, which could result in large fines for non-compliance to what is essentially a commitment to a Europe-wide renewable energy initiative.

 

These targets outlined our responsibility to reduce emissions from sectors such as transport, agriculture, residential and waste by 20% from 2005 levels as part of the non-Emissions Trading Scheme (non-ETS), with the EPA now expecting our reduction to fall between the 6-11% range, well below 20%.

 

When we look at these sectors individually, there have been innovations on a larger scale that can help reduce emissions in this regard, with electric cars in transport, recycling programmes concerning waste emission reduction and renewable energy production in the residential sector, of which the widescale adoption of solar energy solutions such as our very own solar panels plays a significant role.

 

However, for the wider population, our agricultural production is something that the people of Ireland cannot realistically effect or change within the realm of their own homes. We can offset the increase of emissions in this industry by reducing them elsewhere and this may be a viable short term strategy for a new government.

 

Either way, it’s our overall, aggregated efforts that we feel the government can concentrate on in this manner. Our national GDP may be effected if we were to cut down on our herd size and the government is arguing that we can’t afford to cut production within one of our nation’s most valuable industries.

 

What are your thoughts about the balance discussed above? Do you think it’s a good idea to consider taking on board the points of EPA Director General, Laura Burke, when she referred to how “we must break our dependence on fossil energy infrastructures”?

 

These infrastructures run right to our doorsteps, where we depend on fossil fuels for central heating purposes, to heat our homes, heat our water, power our appliances and drive our cars; we’re concerned not only about the cost of our energy, but on the impact it’s having on the environment, and in turn, our future generations’ wellbeing.

 

If the Irish government is serious about finding a solution to break our dependence on fossil fuels, it is important that it helps strengthen the appetite for such change amongst the population by further supporting alternative heating solutions, renewable energy production and our overall green energy efforts.

 

Incentives in this regard such as the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme, Better Energy Homes are working really well at the moment, giving homeowners the chance to avail of grant for solar panels amongst other opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

 

Previous schemes such as the Greener Home Scheme have heralded extremely positive change in homes all around Ireland and only add weight to the argument that government supported schemes can help Ireland offset its overall emissions through residential support. Instead of a help-me-help-you scenario, the power of renewable energy in the residential sector truly becomes a help-us-help-us scenario, one which we can all benefit from, to the detriment of no stakeholders.

 

Green energy in Ireland is more than just an unattainable dream, it is fast becoming a reality and those who embrace it are reaping the rewards, both financially and ethically; it’s time we started pushing for an evolution towards a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly Ireland and we’re excited by the prospect of solar energy play a prominent role in driving this narrative for many bright years to come.


Activ8 Solar Energies Sign €2.5 Million Deal with Joule

On the back of recent news concerning our ISO 9001 Accreditation, it is with great delight that we can announce a recent deal we signed with Joule, an Irish company delivering excellence in the manufacturing and production of cylinders. Incorporating Joule cylinders as part of the Activ8 Solar package allows us as an Irish company to partner up with another Irish company to deliver a high quality product as part of a high quality service.
Combine the recognition of ISO 9001 as part of our quality management alongside our commitment to use only the best products and materials from world leading partners and you've a package that others will find hard to match. Joule offer a number of different solutions as part of making your home more efficient and we have partnered in this instance to increase the efficiency of our system through the use of high quality copper and stainless steel solar cylinders, manufactured by Joule in Dublin.

On the back of recent growth and this recent deal, Activ8 Solar Energies began another recruitment drive and alongside this announcement in the Sunday World we are hoping to hire an additional 20 staff nationwide this year. In line with this we will be hoping to make more exciting announcements in the not so distant future.

See Ciaran Marron, CEO of Activ8 Solar Energies after signing the deal with Ian Barrett, CEO of Joule in Activ8 HQ in Carrickmacross.
Don't be afraid to give us a like on Facebook while you're at it.


What ISO 9001 Actually Means for Customers

We spoke recently at our delight in attaining ISO 9001 accreditation, something that most people recognise. When people see the ISO stamp, they know they are dealing with a well oiled organisation rather than a one-man band. The ISO 9001 is an accolade that directly reflects our commitment to our "Quality Management Systems". When we set out with our blog, we wanted it to become a source of information rather than a sales tool. With over 10 years' worth of experience in the solar industry, we feel that we can bring that experience to the public and we can help educate those who are interested in the renewable power of solar. In this regard, we wanted to share the journey towards ISO accreditation, what it really means to get it and help you understand what it means for our customers and those of you interested in what we offer.

As I've already alluded to, ISO 9001 was a direct reflection of our "Quality Management Systems". This means that every single process within the company was scrutinised for best practice; from how we process orders, contact customers, our reporting, right down to how we file everything! But it was a process that allowed us to really focus on one of our strengths; customer service. With stringent processes, it meant we became even more confident that we could strengthen what we call "Our Promise".

Testament to this, was a recent customer review we received regarding our service. This isn't so much about the review itself, but it reflects the work that went into securing our ISO 9001 accreditation and definitely makes it worth it.....

A few weeks ago, my wife called to me from the kitchen. She was alarmed at the sight of a steady drip of water splashing on the tiled floor. Directly above the spot there is a Velux skylight and we immediately assumed that this must be the source of the leak. We threw down some cloths to soften the impact of the drips and contain the splashes. By next morning, when the rain had stopped during the night, the leak had stopped and the floor was dry.

A period of dry weather followed and we put the matter out of our minds. Inevitably, when rain returned the leak came with it. What should we do? Let’s have a word with Dave, the man who fitted the Velux nearly ten years ago.

The rain stopped again and we forgot about contacting Dave. Then the penny dropped! It was only five weeks since we had our brand new solar panels fitted by Activ8 Solar Energies of Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. They had been all over our roof installing the panels and it was too much of a coincidence, we thought, for the leak to be unconnected with that work, even though it was falling from the opposite side of the roof.

On the Monday, I phoned Tara at Activ8 and she arranged for Eugene to get back to me. Eugene phoned that afternoon and by Wednesday his men were on the roof looking for the leak. They found a cracked tile near the Velux, which clearly was in that condition long before the solar panels were fitted; there was moss growing in the crack. Before they reported their find to me they had replaced the offending tile with one left over from the installation of the panels.

I was so impressed that I sent this e-mail to Activ8: –

“Many thanks for following up on my request for inspection of my roof for possible damage arising from your installation work.

As the lads discovered the leak was caused by an old break in a tile not affected by your work; but they were good enough to replace it with one of the redundant tiles.

Please let me know if there is any payment required,

Once again, thank you all.”

Next day I received the following e-mail from Activ8:-

“Thanks for your email, we appreciate the offer for payment but this is part of our service we promised to you. Thanks again and if you have any questions in relation to your system in the future please feel free to email me back or give us a call.

Kind regards
Aidan”

Now that’s what I call customer service!

"Customer service". It should be pretty obvious what it entails when you read those two words. Unfortunately, it isn't guaranteed everywhere you go. Be careful what you read, and be wary of what you're offered. We base our customer service on 'Our Promise' and we back it up with our awards. Now when you see our ISO mark, you know what it means and how we got it.