The Irish Solar Market | A Reflection & Projection

The Solar Landscape In Ireland | Reflection and Projection

Now is as good a time as ever to take stock of the Irish solar market. 2020 was a year of unimaginable uncertainties for so many people here in Ireland and who knew that we would be entering 2021 with some of the same. We now have a vaccine and that brings us back towards normality and again, certainty.

What makes now a good time to take stock? Well, here at Activ8 Solar Energies, we have a big year ahead, we're getting ready to celebrate 15 years in the solar business as well as opening a state-of-the-art headquarters. When we speak of certainty inside the four walls of Ireland's solar experts, we really own can be certain of one thing; change!

We started off with flat-plate solar panel collectors before the famous financial crisis of 2008 threw Ireland into recession and we learned a lot with that experience. We know that our original product offering has changed from solar panels to heat hot water only (flat-plate, or "Solar Thermal") to solar panels that create electricity (Solar PV). The recession came and went (with the infamous IMF) and the country slowly got back on its feet. More recently, we even saw the rise and fall of Donald Trump and you might think, what has that got to do with solar? Well, we wrote about this in 2016 and the possible disaster this might have for climate change efforts around the world, and we were unfortunately proven correct.

What has come before us is history and what will happen in the future is unknown, except for the knowledge that things will change and we here in Activ8 Solar Energies will adapt and evolve. We recently celebrated ISO certification in new areas, championing our commitment to process improvement internally, ultimately helping our customers. The reassurance longevity and experience brings cannot be underestimated. Customers of ours from 2007, 14 years ago, know that we're the same company that installed their solar panels in 2007 and although we've changed and grown over the years (for the better), we're still the same Activ8 Solar Energies.

Through our own data analysis, we have come to see the solar market here in Ireland become a lot more crowded. For instance, in the summer of 2018, Activ8 was competing with 6 similar businesses on Google Ads, according to the Auction Insights Report. December 2020 shows 20 competitors for the same market. This isn't a bad thing as this increased level of competition means that supply side solar costs are sustainable and more importantly, that standards are set and maintained by national bodies as a result. Heck, our CEO Ciaran Marron was on the NSAI committee to help formulate these standards given our longstanding position in the Irish solar market. It helps that our motto internally has always been "We don't follow standards, we set them" and to remain as Ireland's Solar Experts, we must always strive for the highest possible standards.

However, the sudden growth in 2018 may coincide with the introduction of the SEAI Solar PV grant at the very end of July 2018. As mentioned, it's great for the proliferation of solar and renewable energy throughout Ireland to have so many suppliers in the market going forward and here's hoping that as an industry, standards across the board are kept to a sustained, high level through the SEAI and other bodies.

We're delighted to have been offering solar energy and solar panels for 14 years and look forward to delivering our exceptional level of service for many more years to come. Keep an eye on our pages for more information on our improved Customer Resource Centre as well as our growing Activ8 Solar Academy.

Fingers crossed that 2021 delivers what we're all hoping for, a resumption to what we all call normal.


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.