Ireland introduces home energy loan scheme

The Irish authorities have presented a new plan to allow homeowners to borrow between €5,000 ($5,350) and €75,000 for up to 10 years, with low interest rates. Heat pumps, solar electricity and solar water heater installations are all eligible under the scheme.

The Irish government has launched a loan scheme for home energy upgrades, in order to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient.

The €500 million scheme has been billed as the first of its kind in Ireland. It offers homeowners the opportunity to borrow between €5,000 and €75,000 for terms of up to 10 years to carry out retrofit projects on their homes.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) will oversee the scheme. The funded projects must be carried out by a SEAI registered One Stop Shop, energy partner, or community coordinator.

Grants for heat pumps and solar water heating installations are eligible across all three routes, while solar electricity installations are eligible when the work is carried out by a One Stop Shop or community coordinator. If the work is managed by a SEAI registered energy partner, up to 25% of the grant can be spent on solar panels.

Homeowners can apply through participating finance providers. The scheme promises lower interest rates than those generally available in the market, but rates will differ depending on the provider. 

Irish bank PTSB is the first institution to announce participation in the scheme, with rates from 3.55%. The Irish government said AIB, Bank of Ireland, Avant Money and seven credit unions from the Irish League of Credit Unions are expected to join the scheme in the coming weeks.

According to government statistics, 48,000 home energy upgrades were supported through SEAI schemes in 2023, up 76% on the year prior and exceeding government targets by 30%.

“This innovative scheme shows how the government, financial institutions and the retrofit sector are working together to deliver climate action that works for people and planet,” said Irish Environment Minister Eamon Ryan. “Access will be simple and speedy with an emphasis on reducing the workload for homeowners accessing both loans and grants.”

The Irish government said it will continue fully funded energy upgrades for those most at risk of energy poverty under its Warmer Homes Scheme.

Ireland has set a target of producing 80% renewable electricity by 2030. In October 2023, the government earmarked around €380 million for the country’s residential and community grant upgrade schemes, which includes solar installations.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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