Rebate Programme in Ireland: 9,500 Systems Installed

The Republic of Ireland has a strong commitment to solar thermal technology. The rebate programme “Greener Homes Scheme” has pushed the market since March 2006. The installed solar thermal capacity in 2007 (10.5 MWth) tripled compared to 2006 (3.5 MWth), according to ESTIF statistics. The Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), the programme's administrative organisation, has recorded 9,500 approved applications since the beginning of the programme. The following chart shows rebated system installations by county (total of 9,500 systems). Cork experienced by far the highest number of installed systems. It is the second largest county in Ireland in terms of population and located in the most southern part of the island. Phase 1 of the programme (March 2006 to October 2007) categorizes grants by either hot water or hot water and heating. Phase II and III change the grant type categorisation to flat plate or evacuated tubes.

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Nevertheless, the incentive scheme was subject to several changes. Phase 1 allowed to issue grants on up to 12 m2 between March 2006 and October 2007. The current programme reduces this number to 6 m2. Moreover, newly built homes have been excluded from the scheme since July 2008 because new building regulations became effective the same month. They require to use renewable sources for at least 10 kWh/m2 of living space.

Typically, whatever is mandatory cannot be subsidised by the government. “If you are replacing your heating system in an existing home, you are not forced to use renewable,” explains Toni Mercer, Marketing Executive of Sustainable Energy Ireland. “The building regulation only applies where there is a change of use or a substantial renovation.” So far, the building regulations have had less of an impact, because construction activities are down, admits Martin Vaughan. He is from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that is responsible for the nation-wide regulations. You can find further information about the building regulations in the following table.

www.sei.ie/grants/greenerhomes
www.environ.ie

Country Ireland
Name Building Regulations (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 854 of 2007) Conservation of Fuel and Energy – Dwellings
Goal
  • Limit the primary energy consumption and related CO2 emissions
  • Expand use of low or zero carbon energy sources and achieve zero carbon emission during the operation and use of buildings as soon as possible  
Date when law passed 2007
Date when law came into effect 1st July 2008
Target group
  • New dwellings
  • Existing dwellings (substantial renovation)  
Special requirements
  • The level of energy provision from renewable sources must be at least 10 kWh/m² per year for domestic hot water heating, space heating or cooling, or 4 kWh per m² and year of electrical energy or a combination of these with the equivalent effect.
  • Central solutions will only be allowed if they are more practicable than separate sources for each individual dwelling.
Exceptions n/a
Last review March 2009
Further information www.environ.ie/en/TGD/
Date when law passed 2007
Further information www.environ.ie/en/TGD/  
Contact Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Custom House, Dublin 1
Phone +353/1/888-2371
Fax +353/1/888-2888 buildingstandards@environ.ie
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