• Enrate
  • Blackberry Lane
  • Delgany
  • Co. Wicklow
  • 085-1359151

Fully accredited and
registered with SEAI


Flat Plate Solar Panels

Better Energy Homes Scheme

This objective of this scheme is to improve the energy performance of the nations existing housing stock by encouraging owners to upgrade their pre-2006 homes (new housing stock is already subject to high standards introduced in the 2008 and 2011 Building Regulations). This will save money, reduce Ireland's dependency on imported fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions. The scheme also stimulates employment in the building sector.SEAI oversees the standards and quality of work for contractors associated with this scheme. 370,000 Irish homeowners have benefited from Better Energy Home grants up to 2018.

In 2009 the EU set binding targets for Member States to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by the year 2020, compared to 1990 levels. In addition, under the EU Renewable Energy Directive of 2009, Ireland committed to produce from renewable sources at least 16% of all energy consumed by 2020. This was to be met by 40% from renewable electricity, 12% from renewable heat and 10% from the renewable transport sector.
As we failed to achieve these targets (along with the other EU countries), we could in theory be fined substantial sums of money by the EU. The next set of EU targets involve a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030, compared to the same 1990 baseline levels.

As part of a national effort to improve energy efficiency within housing sector, and thereby help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, €69.9 million of government funding was allocated to the National Retrofit Programme in 2011, and since then sufficient resources have been allocated annually by government to keep the Better Energy Scheme well funded. The specific allocation of funds varies from time to time. In April 2018 SEAI stopped paying out grants for the installation of new gas and oil condensing boilers, but instead started paying out grants for electrically operated heat pumps. This is in line with Ireland's increasing generation of renewable electricity from wind and solar power, with a corresponding reduction in the need to import fossil fuels.

When you apply for an insulation grant, SEAI request that all of the attic or walls be upgraded at the same time wherever feasible. A BER is mandatory every time you claim a grant, but the BER grant is only available once per property. Each type of grant is available once for the property. The wall insulation grant is available for one type of insulation only; either cavity fill, external or internal insulation (even if you choose to to install more than one type during the upgrade works). SEAI ask you to choose the "optimum solution" for each measure during grant aided work, which essentially means that if you are insulating the walls, you insulate all the external walls. Or if you insulate the roof, insulate all the roof to current standards (300mm of mineral wool, or the equivalent, would be appropriate).

Bonus Grant; generally it will be more cost effective to get all the work done together under one grant application, if possible, because you can then claim the bonus grant in addition to the basic grants allocated to each measure. The bonus grant amounts to an extra €300 if you have 3 different upgrades under the one grant application, or €400 extra if there are 4 different upgrades.

All grants are recorded to the house, not to the person. If you move house, you can claim all the same grants again (provided the previous owner has not already claimed them)You can only claim a grant for each type of upgrade once per property.

If you decide at some future time to get one of the upgrades that you have not already claimed for, then you can always apply again to SEAI for the grant attached to that particular upgrade measure. But in that case, you would need to get another BER assessment afterwards, which would not be grant aided. However if the previous BER survey had been done by Enrate then the subsequent survey would be done at the reduced flat rate cost of €130.

If installing solar panels, Solar PV panels (photovoltaic) are preferable to Solar Thermal because they can generate electricity for the house, in addition to the surplus electricity being used to heat the hot water. Solar Thermal panels can only heat hot water. Also Solar PV panels have no moving parts and no maintenance issues.You can get €900 for each kWp of Solar PV installed up to 2kWp. This “kWp” is the "peak power" output of the panel under ideal or sunny conditions. In less sunny conditions, actual power output will be some fraction of the peak power. Each manufacturer has a different output for their panel; normally 300 to 350 Watts per panel. A higher figure here means the panels are better and more efficient.
Most homes typically install 1.5 to 2kWp solar system which is equal to about 6 panels. Taking the example of a 6 panel system using 300W panels, and with an output of 1.8kWp, this would be eligible for a grant of 1.8 x €900 = €1,800
On a summer's afternoon the panels may be producing their peak power, but there may not be anybody at home to use the electricity. In other EU countries the surplus electricity would be exported to the national grid in this situation, and the homeowner would receive a payment called the "feed-in tariff" but here in Ireland we have not organised that. The usual procedure here is to install a small electronic "diverter" which automatically diverts any surplus electricity to the immersion/hot water cylinder where it can be used to heat up a store of hot water for future (or night time) use. The Irish government has signalled its intention to make a feed-in tariff available by the end of year 2022, in conjunction with the introduction of digital "smart meters" which can monitor the import/export of electricity from your house. The rate of this new tariff could be anywhere between 9 cent and about 20 cent depending on whether a political decision was made to match wholesale electricity prices, or the retail prices.

A homeowner may also choose to install more than 2kWp, in which case the panels will frequently produce more electricity than can be utilised by the immersion. In this situation a powerful battery can be installed in the house for the purpose of storing the power, and then releasing it later. However these standalone batteries are expensive and have a limited lifespan. If the household has an electric vehicle which is frequently parked at home during the daytime, then the vehicle battery could be used to soak up the solar electricity instead. SEAI will pay €600 towards the cost of a standalone battery for Solar PV, and when this battery is installed they will continue with a reduced €300/kWp payment up to 4kWp of solar panels (the max is 2kWp without the battery).
The maximum Solar PV grant is therefore €3,000 =  €1,800 for the first 2kWp + €600 for the second 2kWp + €600 for the battery.
The SEAI Solar PV grant is conditional on the house being built before 2011 and the final BER (after the panels are installed) being a "C" or better.
The panels are likely to move the BER up by one or two grades, depending on the number of panels and the orientation of the roof (south facing and unshaded by trees is best) Therefore if the existing BER is a D2 or worse, it may be advisable to get the BER assessment done in advance, so that the final BER can be predicted.

Another grant called the "heating control grant" envisages the dwelling being upgraded to a zoned system with thermostatic control for each zone, as well as separate 7-day timer control for each zone. Together this constitutes "time and temperature zone control".
Ideally there would be two space heating zones (eg separate zones for upstairs and downstairs radiators) plus one water heating zone. This would normally require a 3-channel programmer showing separate program control for each of the 3 zones. There would be a cylinder thermostat on the hot water cylinder in the hot press, plus two wall thermostats (eg upstairs and downstairs)
In some situations the grant can still be claimed without having the 3 thermostats. If the dwelling is equipped with a combi boiler instad of a regular boiler, then there will be no hot water cylinder present in the dwelling. In that case there will be one less thermostat and one less timewswitch required. If it is deemed impractical to split the space heating into two separate zones (for example in an apartment) then it will be deemed acceptable to install at least 3 thermostatic radiator valves (TRV's). The TRV's will allow each room fitted with one to have its own individual temperature control. There should still be at least one room thermostat fitted on the wall somewhere in the dwelling though. Householders availing of the heating control grant often install a new high efficiency condensing boiler at the same time as the heating controls are being modified. Although the SEAI grant is not specifically targeted at boiler upgrades, it can be claimed for any overall heating upgrade that includes an upgrade of the heating controls. This is due to a decision to cease any direct grant aid towards the installation of any new fossil fuel boilers, and instead encourage the use of electric heat pumps (see below).

Grants for the following amounts are currently available under the standard Better Energy Homes scheme.
In addition the the bonus grants as mentioned above may be available to you (when you get 3 or more upgrades together under the one application)

Roof or Attic Insulation  €400
Cavity Fill Wall Insulation €400
Internal Wall Insulation €1,600-€2,400
External Wall Insulation €2,750-€6,000
Heating Controls Upgrade €700
Bonus Grant €300-400
BER Assessment; After Works BER €50
Solar PV up to €900/kWp

How to proceed

  • If you don't know which upgrade measures are suitable for you, it may be best to to start by engaging the service of one of the SEAI registered One Stop Shops. These will give you advice, and handle all the various aspects of the work and the grants process, from start to finish.
 But if you have already decided which measures are needed, go ahead to Step 2. 
  • Step 2. Apply for your BES grant approval. The grant offer expires eight months after approval, so go ahead to Step 3 as soon as possible.
  • Step 3. Select contractors in your area from the SEAI list of approved contractors. Preferably get 2 or 3 quotes.
  • Step 4. When the upgrade work is complete, you must get the After Works BER assessment done. Check the price of this by clicking on the Prices tab at the top of this page, and then add €10 for grant processing (plus any other extras for extensions etc. as per the list on the Prices page)  Please note that the householder has to pay the full cost of the BER assessment(s) and any upgrade works before receiving the grant. Before booking your After Works BER please ensure that the works contractor(s) have completed and signed all of their own relevant sections of the grant forms. The grant form should be passed on to the BER assessor after they have already been signed by the contractors.
  • Step 5. After we have completed the updated BER assessment, filled in certain calculations and signed the Confirmation and Request for Payment form, we will return the grant form document to you by regular post. At this stage fill in section 2(b) bank details, if necessary, and forward it on to SEAI to claim your grant money. SEAI will take 4-6 weeks to process completed grant forms and lodge the money in your nominated bank account.
  • Step 6. Enjoy the increased comfort levels and lower fuel bills of your newly upgraded home.

Additional Notes

The building must have been constructed pre-2006 to qualify. You cannot get grants for a new build project.
You must use a contractor from the approved list (no grants for DIY).
You should apply for the grants and get the work done before getting any BER assessment, but you will need a BER Cert after completion of the works in order to claim the grant money.  

To apply for the scheme click here.

Grant for a Heat Pump System

This grant is available for the installation of a heat pump system. The usual heat pump installed nowadays in the Irish situation is an "Air to Water heat pump" and the value of the grant for that is €3500.This kind of unit takes heat from the outside air and transfers the heat to an underfloor heating system. Also to a hot water storage cylinder or buffer tank which then feeds the hot taps around the house. The grant is for the design and implementation of an integrated system, including the heat pump, special radiators or underfloor heating, buffer tank for hot water storage, and all the associated controls. It is important to note that a heat pump is unlikely to work satisfactorily in a poorly insulated building with standard radiators, because the temperature of the water flowing within the system would not be high enough to heat the radiators enough to heat the house adequately. However this lower temperature is perfect for heating underfloor heating within a concrete floor.
So a heat pump delivers heat at a lower temperature than a conventional boiler. For this reason, it will not be suitable for older uninsulated houses, or houses with standard radiators unless a "Deep Retrofit" is being planned. A deep retrofit addresses all aspects of the building's energy performance in a holistic way.
The most suitable building for a heat pump is one which is reasonably well insulated throughout, and has underfloor heating installed, with at least 200mm of rigid polyurethane insulation below the concrete floor.
In the absence of underfloor heating, special high output radiators (made of aluminium, or with electric fans to blow air across them) may work in conjunction with a heat pump, if the rest of the building is well insulated. An electricity smart meter would also be desirable, so that the heat pump could be run using the off-peak electricity tariffs as much as possible.
SEAI recommend that heat pumps should only be installed in a building having a Heat Loss Indicator of 2.0 or less. Since 2020 this HLI figure has been shown in the standard Advisory Report that is issued with every BER Certificate. It is likely that a suitable building would have a BER rating of C1 or better already. When a heat pump system is installed in a suitable building, the householder can experience significant savings in fuel bills.

On the other hand, if the householder is not in a financial position to make a major upgrade to an older house, and they live in an area serviced by mains gas, then upgrading from an older type boiler (typical efficiency 65% to 80% depending on the era in which it was installed) to a modern condensing gas boiler (efficiency greater than 90%) can be a very cost effective strategy. When combined with better heating controls, and with increasing the attic insulation to 300mm of mineral wool (grants available; see above) it is often possible to reduce ongoing fuel bills by about 25% for a once off outlay of around €4000-€5000. 

Because of the special considerations involved, the SEAI grant for a heat pump system has some special conditions.
1. The latest year of construction for the dwelling is extended to 2010 (as opposed to 2005 for the other BEH grants)
2. Before applying for a heat pump system grant, you must engage an independent SEAI Registered Technical Advisor to assess your house's suitability for a heat pump system. The Technical Advisor will carry out a technical assessment of your home, and will advise you on what steps to take to make your home “heat pump ready”. The Technical Advisor would have an input into the design of the system, and also advise on what other upgrades might be needed in addition to the heat pump system itself. 
3. A separate grant of €200 is available for the Technical Advisor's assessment. This is four times the amount of the regular BER grant and reflects the fact that this assessment is a lot more expensive than a regular BER assessment. The assessment grant is only payable in conjunction with the heat pump system grant. To qualify for this assessment grant you must choose your Technical Advisor from the list of SEAI registered Technical Advisors, and complete the heat pump system and any upgrades required according to the programme rules. Enrate does not provide this Technical Advisor service.

Warmer Homes Scheme

The aim of this scheme is to combat fuel poverty in certain concessionary and/or low income households. Typically this scheme helps pensioners, jobseekers with children, and registered carers to get basic upgrades for older uninsulated houses, without embarking on any major renovation work. Attic insulation, hot water cylinder lagging jackets, extra draughtproofing, energy saving CFL light bulbs and sometimes wall insulation can be installed free for eligible persons. The house itself must be privately owned, owner occupied, and built prior to 2006 to qualify. The waiting list for this grant scheme is longer than the others, and an application could take 18 months. Apply for this via the SEAI website as linked above.

Middleman Schemes

You may find other schemes clustered around the country which act as a middleman between the householder and the SEAI grants that are available. They usually pass on the full amount of the grant, but they will restrict you to using their particular product for each type of grant. These schemes may make claims that their products are better, or their installers are better trained than others, or they are subject to independent inspections. Such claims may, or may not be true.


About Us

Enrate was founded in 2009 by Clive Dalby to provide an energy rating service for residential dwellings. With over 20 years experience in construction and a particular interest in the emerging renewable "green" technologies, Clive is well placed to advise on how best to make the cost effective improvements to your property which will save you money. Sales and marketing are handled by Eithne Dalby. Enrate is fully accredited and registered with SEI, and a member of the BER Assessors Association of Ireland.

We are committed to providing a quality impartial service which will address the individual requirements of each client.

The Enrate promise; Your time is valuable; we will always get there for an appointment.



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Privacy Policy

Any information submitted by you will not be shared with any third party, except for data collected pertaining to a completed BER assessment which will become the property of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) which is the issuing authority for BER Certificates. The BER result or grade only (being represented by a letter on a scale of A - G) which appears on the BER Certificate and the advisory report will be published on the SEI National Database and will be accessible to the public on the SEI website.