Activ8 Presenting On FarmGen | Solar Ireland 2020 Conference

The ISEA Conference 2020 took place on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th of this week. The event of course had to be held virtually but with great event management in place, it was a resounding success. With that said, we were delighted to presenting at the event for a fourth year running.

With a wide range of solar projects ongoing in Activ8 Solar Energies, it’s great that we were able to switch topics. Having most recently presented on the topic of domestic solar, we were able to bring our learnings forward on the FarmGen project. An initiative we’ve collaborated on with Glanbia Ireland and SSE Airtricity to great effect. As Ireland’s solar experts, we were in a great position to help Glanbia Ireland bring a renewable offering to life for their agricultural customers. On top of this, the third arm of the partnership, SSE Airtricity offering preferential electricity rates, with the added bonus of said supply being 100% green energy*.

 

With installations in 2019 and further installations this year, we have learned a number of things on the FarmGen initiative as well as thankfully having numerous expectations confirmed in reality. Our Commercial Manager, Gary Connolly, presented on these findings on the second day of the ISEA Solar Conference 2020 from the comfort of our head office.

Firstly, he discussed the predictable, high usage periods of a dairy farm based around milking times. The morning milking is followed by a low midday demand on energy giving us an inverse usage curve versus the standard solar production curve. We have worked with farmers and the sizing of their systems accordingly. It is great that we can depend on the smart monitoring systems installed on-site to give us this feedback at a circuit level. By using this midday energy to heat the hot water cylinder on-site and have it ready for the evening milking, it maximises the use and efficiency of the system.

 

Sizing the System

We have encountered farmers throughout this initiative who are keen to oversize their system without proper understanding of the usage curve against standard solar production patterns.

 

Rather than sizing the system for peak usage, there is a better optimal level towards which a system should be specified. Just as we do for all of our domestic and commercial solar PV clients, we always qualify and research their usage to better understand their need. This allows us to consistently size the system appropriately.

As you can see in the graph above, the optimal sized system brings more efficiency and ultimately, better value for the farmer.

 

The Future

Gary then discussed some minor issues with the funding side and recommendations we would make to help improve the scheme, from a solar perspective in particular.

If you wish to learn more about FarmGen, or have a project in mind that Solar PV may suit, then just get in touch via the contact form below.

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*100% green energy based on Fuel Mix Disclosure and Co2 Emissions for 2019 published by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, September 2020. For more information visit sseairtricity.com/greenenergy


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.” 

 


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.”


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.