ISEA Presentation 2017 - Seeing Into The Future

November 30, 2018

Jim Mc Eneaney

ISEA Presentation 2017 - Seeing Into The Future


What a difference a year makes. In solar anyway.

After one of our best summers here in Ireland, you would be forgiven for thinking I may be referring to the change in weather. But no, it wasn’t changes in the sky, it was changes on the ground. The SEAI brought in the new solar PV grant for homeowners in July of this year and what a difference it has made. We had been lobbying for such measures over the past number of years and to be fair to the powers that be, they listened. Not only to us, but to research, to science, to economists and more. It makes sense.

We have blogs, discussions, and interviews to show our past desires in this area. But maybe the most important reference we can show you is a presentation I gave at the ISEA conference in 2017. It was aptly titled: “The Challenges of Domestic Solar PV Without an Incentive” – if I was to present this now, it would be titled “The Success of Domestic Solar PV With an Incentive”.

Alas, here we are in November 2018 after our MD Ciaran Marron has presented upon the processes and procedures surrounding the grants and installation of these grant-aided solar PV systems. As one the leading solar installers in Ireland for well over a decade, Ciaran had the chance to pass on his knowledge around the processes surrounding solar PV and grant-aided work. Almost 10 years on from helping a customer complete his first SEAI grant application, Ciaran was happy to get this opportunity whilst also worrying about where the 10 years had gone…

Either way now seems an appropriate time to look at the key points detailed in that exact presentation from 12 months ago and compare where we are as a nation and an industry right now.

Early on, we compared the grant-aided structures around solar thermal technology, within which we were the leading installer going off the last recorded SEAI statistics.

It’s great now to be able to change much of the solar PV side with the introduction of the solar PV grant by SEAI, growing widespread uptake and slowly but surely, the visual growth of Irish rooftops showing solar PV and with the grant from the SEAI also comes quality control with meticulous work inspections bringing peace of mind to Irish homeowners.

One of our other main points revolved around the idea that a gentle push is all the homeowner and the industry needed.

Well… We got it.

A gentle push has been provided, not only for the tried and test Solar PV but for the battery storage technology. As a company, we’ve found this has really taken off. As of November, around 25% of all installs now include battery storage added on with the customer benefitting from the additional €1,000 grant.


A year ago, I argued that mass education on system attributes and capabilities can only come from experience within society.

As a company, we have found in late 2018 that customers are far more familiar with what solar PV can do and its benefits to us here in Ireland.

This has come from the proof being in the pudding. Customer recommendations being one. When you pair this with the publicity that initially came alongside the grant alongside continuous publicity from SEAI and news outlets. Public knowledge grows. With knowledge comes acceptance.


Finally, as explained in our presentation last year, with incentives comes inspections and quality checks from governing bodies.

We here at Activ8 widely approve more stringent checks on Solar PV works. This helps create standards that must be upheld by quality installers. Ensuring, that which is installed is installed for the long term. That it is safe and does what it says on the tin.

It would be rude to take all the credit for our foresight on the above topics and presentation. A former colleague of mine (Maurice Murphy) wrote a dissertation on this exact topic in 2014, and lays out some wonderful points many of which are borrowed in my presentation. If this topic is of interest to you, I would suggest you read this dissertation in full in the link below. Covering topics from solar economics, the social, environmental and ethical drivers, right down to a funding piece which shows a cost neutral way for the economy to stimulate the growth in this sector.

RENERWABLE ENERGY IN IRELAND – HAS THE GOVERNMENT MISSED A TRICK? – The Solar Photovoltaic Market in the Republic of Ireland: A Case Study

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