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.


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.


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

 


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.


Activ8 Solar Energies Feature in Irish Examiner

Activ8 Solar Energies National Coverage

We were recently featured in the Irish Examiner with the newspaper highlighting poor representation at the COP 21 in Paris, but more importantly, showcasing Irish consumers willingness to go green.

We here at Activ8 Solar Energies, can testify to this after a successful 2015 and big plans for 2016. There are a number of things showing how willing Irish consumers are in terms of adopting solar energy on a domestic level, with growing adoption within the commercial market also growing steadily. In line with this commercial growth, it is rumoured that incentives are coming down the line to help support the enticing farm and commercial solar developments that have been seen support by many of our European counterparts.

The main reason that Irish consumers are investing in the solar thermal market, apart from the green approach of supporting the environment, is that ultimately, it is an investment that is good for the pocket!

HRI Scheme Success

One of the major successes of the current government and in turn a success for the Irish people and their adoption of renewable energies, has has been the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme. It was launched with a successful setup allowing people to claim back tax for work that was carried out on their home. In our case, one popular approach that fits the criteria perfectly, is the installation of solar panels.

Despite the HRI scheme being a well-known initiative in Ireland, its suitability for helping people make the switch to renewable energy sources is not widely publicised, although through our brand awareness and national coverage through our multiple office sites, we have successfully helped consumers make this switch under the criteria within this scheme.

Going forward, the government need to highlight the pledge Irish people are already making to tackle carbon emissions. As more people make the switch to solar and other renewables, Ireland increases the chances of hitting its emissions targets, thus helping to address the ongoing global climate crisis in line with new targets set in Paris.

Read the piece, in full on the Irish Examiner website by clicking here.

Happy New Year to all of our current customers and we look forward to hearing from those who want to bring solar technology to their homes in 2016.


Ireland's Commitment to Change at COP21 Summit Challenged

Could Ireland Have Committed to More Change at COP21 Paris?

On Monday of this week, as we got ready for another week of work in the world of renewable energy, our Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny, addressed many of the world's leading nations' leaders in Paris at the COP 21 global summit on climate change.

It was a moment in which Enda could have made all of us in the renewable energy industry in Ireland proud. That includes all of our customers and everyone making genuine efforts to source and use energy from renewable and sustainable means. It includes everyone who takes pride in simple things like recycling. It includes a lot of people in Ireland. But he failed to declare Ireland's strong intentions for climate change into the future.

Instead of standing and proclaiming Ireland's willingness to do everything possible so that Ireland would reach its renewable energy targets, he simply didn’t deliver. He cited Ireland's current targets for 2020 as being “unrealistic” and “unreachable”. Although he mainly referred to the difficulties facing the agricultural section in Ireland with regards to carbon emissions, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that incentives have worked in other industries.

You only have to look at the current solar energy grants scheme that has worked very well for our targets, our businesses and most of all, the Irish public who have been able to avail of renewable energy technologies in their home. Looking to agriculture, there is the opportunity to install medium-scale solar PV systems on farm buildings through the TAMS II scheme, but measures such as this should be more heavily supported if Ireland are to be seen as being serious about offsetting the emissions caused by our ever-increasing agricultural production.

The Irish Economy and Climate Change

Getting back to the topic at hand, Ireland is in a strong position currently thanks to our growing economy. Evidence of this was seen in the generous nature of the most recent budget. It would have been possible for the government to increase incentives and really push an agenda of change in relation to climate change and our 2020 targets, with a view to reaching our 2030 targets also.

Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and we, like many others, were left disappointed. But with this week's COP 21 global summit on climate change unfolding, we felt that it was the time for Enda Kenny and his party to show the Irish public its future plans in relation to climate change and a chance for them to showcase to the world how Ireland could once again be a leader of change as it has done in the past.

The only real commitment to come from Mr. Kenny was The €175 million promised over the next five years, which is no more than existing Irish Aid spending repeated into the future.

We, like many others, will continue to drive the renewable energy industry in Ireland and are hopeful that Mr. Kenny scraps the notions that our recession restricted us in this regard. Plenty of poorer nations than Ireland, such as India, have been admirably powering themselves forward through the heavy backing and support of solar power. In fact, Ireland are the 8th highest polluter amongst developed countries in the entire world and we are 4th in Europe [1].

It is time for change, climate change!

[1] "World carbon dioxide emissions data by country: China speeds ahead of the rest" - The Guardian.


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


Solar PV - Have The Irish Government Missed The Point?

Solar Energy Generation & Job Creation

We have seen the new budget announced recently, with a plethora of giveaways, incentives and promises of job creation. As a company, we work both north and south of the boarder. Through Activ8 Solar Energies we have created a sustainable business model in the solar thermal industry, with thousands of installs and continued business growth throughout the downturn. We have seen other companies come and go in the tough economical climate of the recession. In Northern Ireland we work as Solar NI, installing solar PV (electric solar) systems, where we have been gaining traction in a new territory while helping to create 16 new jobs in Newry, Co. Down within 1 year of commencing trading.

Our Neighbours in Northern Ireland

Through an incentive which has been in place for a number of years now in Northern Ireland, home owners are incentivised for the units of green energy produced on a yearly basis. Guaranteed for 20 years, this along with a small payment from the electricity companies for any energy sold to the grid, makes PV a very good seller. It pays for itself completely within 5-8 years and is guaranteed for 20, leaving it a no-brainer in terms of a long term sustainability measures for a home owner. An average home owner can expect to save anywhere from €600 to €800 on energy costs. A small grant similar to that of solar thermal could see a considerable growth of the Solar PV industry.

Take Northern Ireland for example, where the current solar industry directly employs 750 people from a population that is only a quarter the size of the Republic of Ireland's. Employment would be created by SMEs and spread widely across the country. The spread of these jobs to match regional demand could serve as a welcome boost to the rural areas of the country. These areas have been the hardest hit by the recession, especially in comparison to urban centres such as Dublin and, to a lesser extent, Cork. Employment and prosperity opportunities in these areas would offer the demographic who are leaving the country in large numbers an incentive and opportunity to stay in their home towns and help rebuild communities which have been decimated by the recent recession. So, in real terms, you could expect to see up on 3,000 jobs directly contributed to the Solar PV trades created by a solar PV incentive or grant, never mind the increased consumer spend and VAT intake for the government's coffers.

The Solar Power of Ireland

When you also tale into consideration that the Republic of Ireland has higher average solar yields than our Northern Irish counterparts, it makes even more sense to invest in Solar PV. Let us compare ourselves to our perceived sunnier continental friends; would it surprise you to know that south of a line from Dublin to Kenmare, Ireland’s potential for solar electricity generation is as good as that of Germany’s?

The Irish Examiner, last year, discussed these compelling statistics. It explained how Germany has installed tens of thousands of megawatts of solar, currently generating over 6% of its electricity with plans to go to 20%, whereas we have yet to install even 1 megawatt. This at a time when we need to increase the amount of renewable electricity we produce, reduce our CO2 emissions and decrease our dependence on imported fossil fuels.

So for now, solar thermal is the only show in town, with a reasonable pick up from the general population due to the current grants which are available. Solar thermal represents a strong return on investment along with a considerably improved standard of living for those who currently use kettles (i.e. virtually every Irish person!) and electric showers for their hot water needs during the 6-8 months in the year where you don’t actually need your central heating. Here at Activ8 Solar Energies, we currently employ approximately 80 staff and have seen our way through the poor economic times on the back of quality product, service and back up that has seen us gather many happy customers.

But we feel we could raise our country wide employment to double that with a simple, cost neutral incentive by the government. In our opinion, they may have missed a trick.