SEAI Solar PV for Business Guide

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have published their latest guide on Solar PV to help your business understand solar PV technology and to support you to deliver a solar PV project. It explores the key areas of site suitability, as well as the technological and practical issues involved in a typical solar PV project.
This guide is a fantastic starting point for any business interested in adopting Solar as part of their energy supply.

Solar PV will play a pivotal role in the nation’s Climate Action commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions by 51% by 2030 and achieve a climate-neutral economy by 2050.

The southeast receives more light energy from the sun than any other region, which means businesses in the southeast have the potential to generate more solar energy than other regions of the country.

Kehoe’s Ketripack: Solar PV & Lighting Upgrade / SEAI Better Energy Communities Grant

Kehoe’s Ketripack: Solar PV & Lighting Upgrade / SEAI Better Energy Communities Grant

“The 30% grant really made the project viable, along with substantial energy savings, it’s helping our farm to be more sustainable and helping us play our part in reducing carbon emissions” – Philip Kehoe

Meet Philip Kehoe, alongside his father Francis they own Kehoe’s Ketripack, the agri-business side to Kehoe’s Potato farm in Co. Wexford.

Kehoe’s Ketripack were spending upwards of €2,443 a month on electricity alone. This was from the processing, storage, and packaging of their animal feed products. Kehoe’s Ketripack hoped to lower this by adopting greener energy and more efficient lighting.

With the help of 3cea and the SEAI Better Energy Communities (BEC) promgramme, Kehoe Ketripack were able to benefit from 30% funding towards energy efficiency improvements. To meet the challenge, 3cea installed 40KWp Solar PV modules and upgraded 103  energy-efficient light fittings.

The results speak for themselves:

🌱28.688 Tonnes of CO2 avoided annually
💶€11,340 annual savings
86,566 kWh energy savings

The team at 3cea coordinated the entire BEC application from the initial energy audit, procurement to warranty checks, and all required paperwork. Taking the stress out of the project for Kehoe’s Ketripack to focus on what they do best.

If you own and family farm or other farm enterprise, and would like to follow in the footsteps of Kehoe’s Ketripack in becoming more sustainable under the SEAI Better Energy Communities programme, send us a brief overview of the project to: BEC@3cea.ie or call 056 779 0856

New Date Confirmed! Free webinar to highlight local opportunities for renewable energy projects

Organisers have now confirmed a new date, the new event date is scheduled on Thursday, 2nd December 2021 at 9:30-11:30.

More communities than ever before are coming together to develop renewable energy projects in their own localities, according to a Kilkenny-based energy engineer. A recent study conducted by Mullan Grid Consulting, for 3cea with funding from Kilkenny Leader Partnership, highlights the electricity grid’s capacity for renewable energy projects in County Kilkenny.

Register here: https://webinar-on-the-kilkenny-grid-study-findings.eventbrite.ie

Agenda

• 9:30am – Part 1 – Introduction

• 9:40am – Grid Study Findings

• 10:20am – Q&A

• 10:30am – Break

• 10:45am – Part 2 – Introduction

• 10:50am – Community Renewable Project

• 11:30am – Q&A

• 11:45am – End

After registering, you will receive further information from the team about joining the Event.

The event will be hosted on Zoom.

If you would like to be updated on when that event will be please email events@3cea.ie

 


 

The first session, hosted by Rory Mullan of electrical engineering consultancy Mullan Grid Consulting, will discuss the findings of a recent grid study carried out in the Kilkenny area. All energy produced by a renewable energy project must be transported via the grid to homes and businesses across the country. For a community renewable energy project to be feasible, there must be capacity available in the grid to take the energy produced. This session will help attendees to identify if there is an opportunity to connect to the grid in their area. They can also see where the ideal location for a renewable energy project would be.

Part two of the webinar will be presented by Tom Bruton, of BioXl, an energy consultancy with expertise in renewable energy. It will look at the key steps and considerations a community must take in the development of a renewable energy project, such as securing land rights, constraint mapping, planning assessments and submission, grid application submission, payment milestones, qualifying and tendering for auction, preparing legal structures and community investment proposals.

Gráinne Kennedy of independent energy agency 3cea (3 Counties Energy Agency) said that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has experienced one of its busiest years on record in terms of the growing number of community groups that they are working with to reduce energy costs and cut down on harmful carbon emissions:

“What we have particularly noticed is a dramatic increase in community groups and organisations who are actively seeking information on how to undertake energy efficiency retrofits – be they community centres, sports clubs, parish committees, childcare centres, community health organisations such as organisations that provide accommodation and supports to the elderly, national schools …. the list is growing by the week.

“It’s a win-win situation for these groups and organisations. Through the SEAI Sustainable Energy Community programme that 3cea delivers, they’re supported with capital funding, partnerships and technical support on energy saving projects. And now, with the introduction of the government’s Renewable Energy Support Scheme, communities can set up their own solar farm or wind farm and sell that power to the national grid. Given that so many communities are taking an interest in their carbon footprint, the demand for information about community renewable energy projects has never been greater.”

To meet this demand, 3cea with the support of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership has organised a two-part online webinar aimed specifically at community groups in Kilkenny who are interested in developing a renewable energy project. The event takes place at 9.30am and 10.45am on Tuesday, June 22 through Zoom and community groups and representatives can register for this FREE online webinar at http://3cea.ie/event/

For more information on 3cea’s range of community programmes, visit: https://3cea.ie/sectors/community/

The Kilkenny Grid Study is available here for communities who wish to see the potential in their area for a renewable energy project.

To learn more about our community group projects, visit our communities page here.

Maribor Meeting

European Energy Agencies Gather in Maribor, Slovenia

3cea CEO Paddy Phelan represented Ireland at the FEDARENE annual meetings held in Slovenia from the 14th – 16th of September 2021

The Slovenian city of Maribor was the location for the 2021 FEDARENE annual meetings, where energy agencies from across the continent gathered for events which ran over three days. The European wide event involved many energy agencies from countries including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.

Paddy Phelan, 3 Counties Energy Agency CEO, attended the annual meetings and represented Ireland. Paddy participated in an exchange of best practices and inspiring projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate planning during his time there. Presentations were made from energy agencies on the topics of collaboration with public bodies, engaging with citizen energy groups, implementing local energy strategies and smart villages.

During the 2021 FEDARENE General Assembly, the members elected fellow Irish man Seamus Hoyne as the Secretary General once again. Congratulations to Seamus, who is re-elected in the position for the next 3 years. The FEDARENE members have chosen to keep Seamus in the position, praising him for the good work he continues to achieve.

Take a look at the photo gallery from the event below.

To learn more about 3cea’s involvement with European projects, visit our Innovation Webpage here.

Register Now for an Information Session on Energy Grants and Supports

Join us online on the 21st September from 1-2pm as we discuss funding opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. What makes a good grant application? Who is eligible for funding? What measures are supported? Our highly experienced senior energy expert Alex will provide helpful tips and what you need to do to be successful. She will be covering everything from preparing for your application to best practice advice!

Businesses, SMEs, Farmers, Tidy Towns Groups, Co-operatives, Community Groups, Schools, Sports Clubs, Public Sector, Housing Associations and other groups are urged to attend the free information webinar as it is expected that the SEAI grant scheme will receive a high level of interest.

Grants are available through SEAI, who provide up to 50% funding for community projects, not for profits, charities, housing associations. And up to 30% funding for businesses, public sector, SMEs, industrial & commercial sector.

Ask the Expert

3cea’s Energy Engineer & Expert Alex Hamilton will provide helpful tips on how to access the funding for your energy project and what you need to do to be successful. Alex will take you through the grant application process in detail, the criteria and timelines and how to maximise the return on your investment.

What’s involved?

This one-hour Zoom session will run on the 21st of September from 1pm-2pm and is open to everyone with an interest in sustainability and community energy but will be of particular relevance to organisations and community groups looking to progress their identified energy projects.

The SEAI’s Better Energy Communities programme will be soon open for grant applications and we are urging applicants to get in touch with us now for the upcoming funding call. In the south east region the SEAI grant application is administered by the 3 Counties Energy Agency www.3cea.ie.

This event is the first step for interested organisations and businesses to understand what it takes to apply for energy grant funding for your project and what supports are available to achieve such a project. This session will offer a chance for all attendee’s to

• Understand the SEAI Grant process and what’s involved

• Ask the expert to gather feedback

• Meet the 3cea team project managing your energy project

How to register?

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

This event is the first step for interested organisations and businesses to understand what it takes to apply for energy grant funding for your project and what supports are available to achieve such a project.

What is SEAI’s Better Energy Communities Grant?

Better Energy Communities (BEC) is a national retrofit initiative managed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). BEC offers a win-win grant aid solution for businesses, SMEs, parish halls, GAA clubs, hotels, farmers, charitable organisations, community groups, Tidy Towns Groups, public authorities, individuals and sports clubs to both lower their energy bills while reducing energy usage.

The SEAI’s Better Energy Communities programme will be soon open for grant applications and we are accepting applicants for the upcoming funding call. In the south east region the SEAI grant application process is administered by the 3 Counties Energy Agency www.3cea.ie.

How 3cea can help?

• 3cea team are well experience in writing successful grant applications that have tight deadlines and require a high level of technical information and paperwork.

• Our team of energy experts will help you manage the complex parts of the grant application and will be here to take your through the process from start to finish.

• Our mission is to act on your behalf to provide you with the resource, expertise and knowledge to help move your energy efficiency projects forward in the south east region.

• Our aim is to make energy efficiency improvements as simple as possible, to help you save money on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions. The quickest and most simplest way of reducing harmful emissions is investing in energy efficiency.

• Over the past 8 years, we’ve been successful in securing energy grant funding across all sectors. We have assisted in the delivery of cumulative energy savings of more than €19.6 million through the Communities Energy Grant (BEC) initiative.

For any further information contact Mari or Patrick at events@3cea.ie or 056 779 0856.

Get in contact with our team on https://3cea.ie/bec-contact/ or email us at bec@3cea.ie indicating your interest and we will be in touch.

The Greener HGV Programme saves up to €17,000 in five years

3 Counties Energy Agency has partnered with Corcra Ltd to launch The Greener HGV Programme. Having secured €1.4M funding under the Governments Climate Action Fund, The Greener HGV Programme will see 1,000 fleet vehicles across Ireland fitted with innovative technology which will enable drivers to reduce carbon emissions and save fleet companies approximately 10 per cent of their annual fuel costs. The Climate Action Fund is a Project Ireland 2040 investment fund.

3cea’s pilot project indicated a potential saving of €17,000 per vehicle over five years based on an investment of €2,800* per vehicle. A previous trial resulted in savings of 1,766.79 tonnes of CO2, like removing 866 cars from our roads for one year. The participating fleet companies saw an increase in fuel efficiency arising from the reduction in over-revving, harsh braking, and engine idling time by the drivers, leading to a significant reduction in energy consumption.

The Greener HGV Programme will run for two years. 3cea is coordinating the subsidy grant available for Irish fleet companies to install the innovative technology and providing driver efficiency training. Data collected from the newly installed tech coupled with the development of a conscious driving culture of HGVs will result in a reduction of the business’s carbon footprint and fuel costs. Irish fleet companies can apply to this program via www.greenerhgv.ie to avail of a 30 per cent technology software and hardware grant.

We would like to thank the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications for the Project Ireland 2040 funding and making it possible.

Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3cea explains,

“Under ‘The Greener HGV Programme’ the transport sector will reduce fuel consumption and emissions from vehicles by driving smarter and by embracing new technologies. The results from our initial test cases show that the benefits and cost savings are clear. Over two years with our partners Corcra, telematic equipment will be installed in over 1,000 HGV vehicles. With technology, and training to improve driver efficiency, the scheme is expected to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 and an average of 10 per cent fuel saving for participating fleet companies.”

Smart telematics including tracking, fuel, remote tachograph downloads and compliance software, live footage cameras and driver awareness panels are all part of the technology that will be used to deliver these sustainable measures. 3cea has partnered with Corcra, a leading Irish fleet communications company for The Greener HGV Programme.

Robert Steele, Ireland & UK Sales Manager from Corcra explains, 

“We use the hardware to gather real-time data which allows us to record baseline driver and vehicle information. After approximately six weeks, the data is analysed and we arrange the professional driver training and activate the in-cab Driver Awareness Panel, which is a driver aid. The new technology with gained knowledge from the driver training helps drivers to achieve more efficient driving and long-term sustainable energy practices.

Techniques that reduce engine revolutions can have a major impact on the vehicles’ fuel consumption and therefore its CO2 emissions. The project received final approvals in April and to date, we have fitted and commenced baseline data gathering on around 100 HGV’s. We expect to see increases in miles per gallon and reduction in fuel costs following the professional driver training that we offer.” 

A case study carried out by Corcra using similar conditions to the Greener HGV Project between January 2017 and September 2020 revealed the following results.2

  • MPG (Miles per Gallon) – Improved from 7.75MPG to 8.95MPG
  • A 15.4% increase in performance/ MPG
  • Saving of 658,365 litres of road diesel across 60 vehicles.
  • Emissions saving of 1,766.79 Tonnes of CO2. The equivalent of removing 866 cars from our roads for a year.3

“Every fleet vehicle in the country will benefit from this cost and emissions saving exercise. We have funding for 1,000 vehicles and have already fitted 100 HGVs with telematic equipment. Any fleet company that is interested in saving fuel and reducing their CO2 emissions needs to act now as we anticipate this scheme will be extremely popular.” Concluded Paddy Phelan of 3cea.

 

The Greener HGV Programme is funded by Project Ireland 2040, the government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all of its people. See: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/09022006-project-ireland-2040/ for more.

Check out our case studies here and find out how we aim to make the transport sector more sustainable.


Some terms apply, see below for more.


How does it work? Click here to download the greener HGV programme booklet

Old Leighlin lead the way to mapping a plan to be part of the climate action programme

The All of Government Climate Action Plan aims to expand the SEC Network to 1500 communities all over Ireland receiving support to plan for a sustainable energy future.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Old Leighlin have done it again. Like they always do. Securing hard fought national grant aid to become Carlow’s first community with the first completed Energy Masterplan in County Carlow.

Old Leighlin is a beautiful place, standing on raised ground overlooking rolling hills and valleys with spectacular vistas.

Following several workshops, and community consultations, the community of Old Leighlin came together and held a public information meeting which was very well attended.  The local community group knew they were on to something. The positive energy in the room was evident and with that a clear vision emerged from the meeting – to establish Old Leighlin as an energy efficient community. The local community group, brimming with drive and dedication, worked in collaboration with Carlow County Development Partnership CLG, and with assistance from us 3cea, and Planenergy Consulting, to complete an Energy Masterplan with grant aid of €10,000 received from SEAI.

Following on from initiating and progressing the Energy Master Plan for the village, Old Leighlin explored different ways in which they could enhance and preserve its beautiful landscape to continue to maintain its natural ambience in a sustainable manner.

Old Leighlin are continuously looking to improve and explore innovative ways to address climate change and make a difference to all the community. Their interest in promoting Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation and Quality, and Biodiversity, are all fundamental essentials that the community believe are the tools needed to preserve ancient Old Leighlin while embracing modern Old Leighlin.

With constant support from Carlow County Development Partnership, Old Leighlin Community Hall and Old Leighlin Tidy Towns were able to access expertise and know-how to reflect on the value of what was present in their village and learn how to protect Old Leighlin and their natural resources into the future.

The Energy Master plan surveys and documents the community’s energy consumption and will also highlight buildings and areas where alterations and improvements can be made to upgrade energy efficiency reduce carbon emissions and reduce consumption in the community. This will enable members to carry out necessary upgrades, where possible thereby, reducing their energy bills, and afford a more comfortable and sustainable living.

Representatives from Old Leighlin stated that the support received from Carlow County Development Partnership made a complicated process much easier. Alice, a committee member from Old Leighlin said ‘we are really delighted to have got this far. The support from the community and from Carlow Development, at each and every step made the difference.  They supported and enabled us to focus on the next step rather than get overwhelmed by the whole project, which still seems enormous to us. I have to say that while the detail required for the application worried people within the community at the start, bit by bit we found the confidence to keep going’. She further commented on the Water conservation and Biodiversity training programme which were also facilitated by Carlow Development through LEADER funding.

Speaking to the Nationalist, Marina DeCosta of Carlow Development extended her congratulations to the community of Old Leighlin and added ‘the journey was long and hard. Sometimes it felt we would have to take a step back, particularly in light of the complications and hurdles that were created due to COVID. However, the resilience and determination of the committee along with partners 3cea and Planenergy overcame a multitude of barriers. Old Leighlin can proudly take ownership of the very first EMP to be launched in County Carlow.

Read more

Eddie's Home

Eddie’s home transformation features in The Sunday Times

Eddie Brennan of Wexford Town upgraded his 1930s bungalow with 3cea in 2019. 

We were delighted to see Eddie’s home energy upgrade story featured in The Sunday Times over the weekend. The article was published by Arlene Harris, who met Eddie and his partner Mary, to gain their insights after achieving such a major home improvement project.

Eddie’s bungalow was in very poor condition prior to the renovation works, with a BER of G, the lowest rating on the BER scale. Eddie continues to describe the process of his project and outlines the different upgrade measures he installed in his new and improved home. You can visit The Sunday Times piece here to read the story in full.

For more information on Eddie’s upgrade project, visit our own interview here, where Eddie lists each of the measures he chose and how these installations transformed his home life.

Home Energy Upgrade Journey

Homeowner Journey

We at 3cea offer homeowners a One Stop Shop service. We will guide homeowners every step of the way, from our initial home assessment right through to the completion of the project. We are listed as a trusted, project coordinator to deliver SEAI‘s National Home Retrofit Scheme and we can apply on behalf of the homeowner for grant funding of up to 35%.

To learn more about starting your journey towards a warmer, comfortable home, visit our Home Energy Upgrade – One Stop Shop.

If you are interested in taking the first step on the journey, you can fill in this form with your home’s details and a member of our Housing Team will be in touch.

Communities

Glenmalure Rural Energy Group hosted Community Energy Events

Glenmalure Rural Energy Group (GREG) hosted a series of online events for their community. The two-part community energy information event took place on Thursday 10th June and Thursday 17th June.

Part one of the event featured information in relation to home energy. This session provided the community with knowledge in the areas of insulation, heating your home and concluded with the current grants that are available to homeowners considering a home energy upgrade.

Part two of the series delved into the area of renewable energy, in particular the potential of renewable sources of energy such as biomass. Again, this information session outlined the grants that are available to pursue this green energy source.

As the events took place during Covid restrictions, both parts were online events. Each of the events featured videos from local Glenmalure residents who presented their own personal energy upgrade story. The local stories highlighted the benefits and challenges of upgrading the energy efficiency of their home, while also outlining why you should choose a renewable energy technology, such as Solar PV panels or Heat Pumps.

GREG organised a panel of experts for the events to discuss the grants that are available for homeowners and for the local community buildings. In particular, the Better Energy Community grant scheme was of great interest as they plan to upgrade their community buildings with energy efficient measures.

During the event, we at 3cea were delighted to participate and present the Glenmalure Energy Master Plan to the community. The Energy Master Plan takes in the surrounding areas of Glenmalure, Ballinaclash and Greenan, and it outlines the current energy standard and potential for the community.  The Energy Master Plan was conducted in collaboration with Wicklow County Council and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) through the Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) Programme. The community residents were encouraged to learn from the Energy Master Plan and to consider future energy upgrade works going forward.

The GREG community group have a recording of the event which can be seen here: https://youtu.be/UUVOEz5bQDg

For more information about our work, visit our Communities web page here.

Home Energy Upgrade

Homeowners highlight the benefits of upgrading their home

Homeowners report a major increase in warmth and comfort levels following their recent home energy upgrade projects.

Five homeowners, who recently upgraded their homes with 3cea, share their insights from undergoing a home energy upgrade project. The homeowners provide helpful tips and advice to those who are considering a similar project, while highlighting the benefits of an energy upgrade.

Sandy & Kevin’s Home

Sandy and Kevin were interested in upgrading their Waterford home and described their motivation for such a project. “We were keen to have a home that was warm and also environmentally friendly – as far as possible.”

Energy Upgrade

Sandy & Kevin’s Home

Sandy and Kevin describe how their home feels after the completion of the energy upgrades. “On the one hand it feels like a new house, it is cosy and there is always hot water, but it doesn’t really get stuffy either. On the other hand, it has retained the atmosphere from before. It was a much-loved family home for decades before the upgrade and that feeling has not been lost.”

Rachel & Denis’ Home

Rachel and Denis upgraded their Co. Kilkenny home with multiple measures to improve their energy rating and to reach the maximum comfort levels. “It was the cold of the house that motivated us to upgrade to the highest energy rating possible so that the house would be comfortable for us. We also wanted the heating system of the house to be environmentally friendly and economical.”

Home Energy Upgrade

Rachel & Denis’ Home

Following the completion of the works, Rachel and Denis were delighted with their upgraded home. “Our home is now warm all the time, with constant hot water and ventilation. It is a pleasure to live in! Triple glazed windows mean we have no noise from the animals outside, especially the crows!!”

Helen’s Home

Helen upgraded her home in Kilkenny City and explains how her home energy upgrade journey began. “In 2018 we purchased an old 1930s built house in need of major renovation.” Prior to any renovation or energy upgrade works, Helen describes the standard of her home. “The house was almost uninhabitable. Windows were rotten, no insulation, a decrepit heating system. But the structure of the house was good.”

Home Energy Upgrade

Helen’s Home

Following the implementation of multiple energy upgrades, Helen noticed a significant difference in the home. “The house went from being uninhabitable to a warm, comfortable and cosy home all year round that’s very economical to run. We increased the BER from an E to an A2.”

Eddie’s Home

Eddie upgraded his Co. Wexford home with 3cea in 2019. His motivation for this home energy upgrade project was to upgrade the entire home to a modern and comfortable condition, as the home needed a complete renovation. “When we purchased the house in 2017 it had been unoccupied since 2011. The only heating was an open fire and there was no insulation whatsoever.” With a considerable amount of work involved in the project, Eddie explains what his expectations were prior to the energy upgrades. “We didn’t really consider a target. We just wanted to make the house as comfortable as possible.”

Home Energy Upgrade

Eddie’s Home

Following the installation of energy upgrades, Eddie highlights the significant changes he noticed in his home. “The comfort levels in the house are excellent and our BER went up to an A2. The only energy bill we have is our ESB bill. It is early days yet, but it is very low so far.” Eddie now describes his home after the upgrades as “warm, bright and comfortable.”

Alan’s Home

Alan was motivated to improve the energy rating of his home in Dublin for the betterment of his family’s comfort levels, while also being aware of the impact his home had on the environment. “We wanted to live in a warm, comfortable and sustainable home for a young family with two small kids. Reducing our carbon emissions was also a factor.”

Energy Upgrade

Energy Upgrades Example – External Insulation & Solar PV

The family were over the moon with their new and improved home, and when describing the home following the works Alan said “our home achieved a super A1 rating. Overall, the home is extremely energy efficient. We are now using renewable power through the Solar PV with our smart home technology.”

To homeowners who are considering a home energy upgrade project of their own, Alan recommends “to trust the experts and choose an energy specialist like 3cea who will guide you through the process. It makes sense to upgrade from fossil fuels and you will save money/payback over time. 3cea are very knowledgeable with good communication throughout the works.”

 To read each story in full, visit our Home Energy Upgrade Stories here.

Home Energy Upgrade Journey

Homeowner Journey

We at 3cea offer homeowners a One Stop Shop service. We will guide homeowners every step of the way, from our initial home assessment right through to the completion of the project. We are listed as a trusted, project coordinator to deliver SEAI‘s National Home Retrofit Scheme and we can apply on behalf of the homeowner for grant funding of up to 35%.

To learn more about starting your journey towards a warmer, comfortable home, visit our Home Energy Upgrade – One Stop Shop.

If you are interested in taking the first step on the journey, you can fill in this form with your home’s details and a member of our Housing Team will be in touch.