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.” 

 


Solar PV Grant For Irish Homes Welcomed

Solar PV Grant With Activ8 Solar Energies & SSE Airtricity

It’s with great pleasure that we welcome the grant announced today by the SEAI. As one of the leading advocates of solar PV in Ireland we have seen many false dawns in previous years. We have sat on many boards discussing the benefits and possible pitfalls of introducing an incentive, as well as speaking at solar events sharing our experience in other markets and countries. Upon Minister Naughten’s announcement earlier this year, the hope was this would not be a false dawn, and as we worked as advisors to the SEAI on the format of the grant, it’s great to see the hard work pay off today.

In brief the grant will work as follows:

Without Battery (Max €1,400)
€700 per kWp up to and capped at 2kWp

With Battery (Max €3,800)
€700 per kWp up to and capped at 4kWp Solar
+
€1000 for battery once sized greater than 2kWhrs

Conditions:

- Buildings built and occupied before 2011
- Post-works BER required
- PV works must be installed after July 31st 2018
- Systems must be grid tied
- Grant is a one-off payment
- 2-year pilot scheme reviewed every 6 months

This theme is all about self-consumption and practicality. Regarding self-consumption, we have found that 2kWp systems can achieve approximately 80% usage of all energy generated, brought close to 100% with battery storage or hot water diverts. By encouraging self-consumption, it means the best value is being obtained by the customer. Regarding practicality, there are schemes around the world still being administered and staffed long after the scheme has closed, hence we welcome the upfront one-off grant payment. This allows for the quick implementation of the scheme and eliminates the grandfather costs when the pilot ends.

We would like to commend the SEAI on their speedy response to Minister Naughten’s call to action. These schemes take a lot of planning and forethought, and the expedited manner in which the members of the SEAI brought this pilot about is a credit to them as an organisation.

Finally, we would like to give credit to our partners at SSE Airtricity for their foresight in all things renewable. SSE Airtricity’s investment in Activ8 further reaffirms their position as the leading supplier of renewable energy to Irish households.

Through our partnership, we are rolling out the following offer to customers -

All current, and new, SSE Airtricity customers who purchase a system from Activ8 will receive €250 cashback from Activ8 on point of install.

Looking at today's announcement, our CEO Ciaran Marron concluded with:
"Having spent the last 12 years in the solar industry, it is not lost on me that we are exactly 12 years away from 2030, a monumental year in our climate change efforts. The announcement today shows our commitment as a country towards our goals in this regard".

For more information on Solar PV and how to avail of the grant, click here.


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.”


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.


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.


A Guide to passing Part L with Solar PV

With Part L Solar PV installations slowly growing into a staple of what we do here in Activ8 Solar Energies, we have created a page on our website completely devoted to Part L.

Here we describe how we can help with the process of specifying, co-ordinating and fitting Solar PV to help your newbuild comply with Part L.

This page is very much directed to the architects, consultant engineers and quantity surveyors who are looking for more information on the products used along with the direct contact information of our Part L and PV division for any advice needed. As a consumer, feel free to point your consultant engineer, architect or BER assessor in our direction for guidance and a quality installation solution.

Remember, not all PV is installed equally, the Republic of Ireland is far behind in the safety and quality standards which are regulated in the UK and Northern Ireland by a specific microgeneration governing body called MCS, luckily we have picked up this experience through our Northern Ireland based company, Solar NI.

If you would like to know more, please get in contact with us.


HRI Scheme - Everything you need to know | Activ8 Solar Energies

Activ8 Solar Energies' Definitive Guide to the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme

In 2013, the Irish Government launched the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme which gives a Tax Credit of 13.5% off the price of home improvement works carried out on your home. And with Activ8 Solar Energies as a Qualifying Contractor, solar panel installations meet the home improvement criteria perfectly, making now the right time to take advantage of the scheme and save some money.

The Home Renovation Incentive Scheme allows for a VAT clawback of up to €4,050 on the 13.5% VAT rate applied to home renovation work costing between €5,000 and €30,000 so long as it was/is carried out between October 2013 and 2016, with the Irish government having extended the scheme twice now, due to its popularity and success.

Why has the HRI Scheme been so successful?

The Home Renovation Incentive Scheme has proven to be a huge success as it offers consumers an excellent opportunity to improve their homes while making savings on their tax liabilities, with the amount being given back to them in tax credits over a two-year period.

It only makes sense that this tax credit from the HRI Scheme further helps with long-term savings as customers then save money on their energy bills after they’ve installed solar panels in their home. To this end, customers are essentially making a double saving and in reducing expenditure in a steady and sustainable way.

Eligibility

Owner / occupiers of a main home or landlords of rental properties who pay Income Tax under PAYE or self-assessment and whose Local Property Tax and Household Charge obligations are up to date, are eligible. The homeowner or landlord must be on Revenue's Local Property Tax Register as an owner or joint-owner of the main home or rental property.

How Activ8 Solar Energies Help:

In order for Activ8 Solar Energies to register the customer's work details to HRI online, we need the local property tax (LPT) number of the property where the work is being carried out. Activ8 Solar Energies register the details of works to HRI online. After the work is completed and payments are made, we then enter payment details to HRI online.

What the Homeowner must Do:

After the work has been carried out and paid for the customer then needs to go onto the revenue site - www.revenue.ie

  • Within the "my account" section: You will see - Home Renovation Incentive (HRI)
  • Click on this link, where you will be brought to homeowners login for HRI.
  • Here you put in the following personal details:
    - Tax reference number (PPS number)
    - Unique property ID (Local property tax number)
    - Secure pin (Pin from your local property tax) This pin should be on a letter of some sort from the revenue in regards to payment of your local property tax.
  • Then you just simply log in.
  • Once logged in, you should see the works we have completed for you in term the price of the system and the date of payment.
  • Once you are happy with these details there should be a button to press stating "CLAIM" or "CLAIM NOW" and you just simply press it and that is your claim completed.

 

Further Information on the HRI Scheme & SEAI grant:

www.activ8energies.com
www.revenue.ie
www.seai.ie


Ireland's Renewables Cut Carbon Emissions to record low in 2014

SEAI Release 2014 Data on Carbon Emissions

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) recently released new data revealing the extent to which the production of renewable energy in Ireland has helped cut the carbon content of electricity production. The exact figure revealed amounts to a total of 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions were avoided in 2014 as a direct result of the embracing of renewable and sustainable electricity.

 

Ireland's Renewable Growth

The figures released show just how far Ireland has come in the last 25 years as far as the renewable energy sector is concerned. Here at Activ8 Solar Energies, we and all of our customers can be proud of our contribution to the changing face of Ireland's renewable energy landscape and culture of sustainable power. This change in how we consume our energy saw the carbon intensity of electricity generation fall to a record low of 457 grams of CO2 per kWh of electrical output, only half the level that was measured in 1990. When you consider the growth of the Irish economy since then and the increased need for electricity and energy on our island due to a growing population and new businesses setting up shop, these statistics becomes even more impressive when taken into context.

SEAI chief executive Brian Motherway feels that the results are an “extremely positive” step for the country of Ireland. Speaking about Ireland's reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and embracing of sustainably renewable energy solutions, he said:

“This comes ahead of an international climate change agreement at COP21 that will put the world on track to a low-emission, climate resilient and sustainable future,”

He continued:

“We can see how Ireland is moving to a low-carbon economy, with clean and renewable energy increasingly used to provide electricity in our homes and businesses.”

On the back of the new data, the SEAI says that renewables are now one of the single biggest contributors to carbon dioxide emission reductions in Ireland.

 

Renewables & The Irish Economy

The SEAI has also revealed that the growth in renewables resulted in a substantial €250 million saving on fossil fuel imports in 2014, keeping more money in Ireland and furthering our nation's own economical output as a result.

So, as we already knew, it pays to go green, both as a homeowner and as a country.