Retrofitting report

National Retrofit Plan: ‘A lot done, more to do’

Barry Quinlan, the Assistant Secretary leading the Energy function with responsibility for Built Environment, Retrofit and Heat Policy at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), reflects on National Retrofit Plan delivery progress in 2023.

The Climate Action Plan and National Retrofit Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit the equivalent of 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating (BER) of B2/cost optimal and the installation of 400,000 heat pumps in existing homes to replace older, less efficient heating systems by end-2030.

Ireland is aiming to be a world leader in terms of our retrofit programme. We have set ourselves ambitious targets and we are serious about meeting them, but this is also a decade long project and is an iterative process. The first half of the decade is about significant scaling up activity year-on-year.

To promote and incentivise the demand necessary to achieve these targets, the Government has launched a package of supports to make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to undertake home energy upgrades, for warmer, healthier, and more comfortable homes, with lower energy bills.

“The retrofits provided under the [Warmer Homes Scheme] are the best long-term approach to alleviating energy poverty.”

Barry Quinlan, Assistant Secretary, DECC


2024 capital funding

A record €437.2 million capital funding has been allocated to SEAI residential and community energy upgrade schemes, including the Solar PV Scheme, for 2024. The overall allocation will mean that the progress made in 2023 under the National Retrofit Plan will be further ramped up in 2024 and with very high applications the pipeline is strong.

Of the 2024 budget, a record capital funding allocation almost €210 million has been provided to the Warmer Homes Scheme, including funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The retrofits provided under the scheme are the best long-term approach to alleviating energy poverty as set out in the Government’s Energy Poverty Action Plan.

Testimonials from homeowners who have benefited from Warmer Homes Scheme can be found on the SEAI’s YouTube channel.

Loan guarantee scheme

The Home Energy Upgrade Loan Scheme has been developed by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in conjunction with the Department of Finance, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, the SEAI, the European Investment Bank, and the European Investment Fund. An agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group underpinning the new Home Energy Upgrade Loan Scheme was announced in October 2023.

The €500 million scheme is the first of its kind for both Ireland and the EIB Group. Homeowners will be able to borrow from €5,000 to €75,000 on an unsecured basis for a term of up to 10 years. The interest rates will be significantly lower than those currently available on the market as a result of the combination of the EIB Group loan guarantee and a government-funded interest rate subsidy.

The Home Energy Upgrade loans will play a crucial role in helping homeowners to invest in energy efficiency, making their homes warmer, cheaper to run and helping to lower emissions. The loans can be used for comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades where those works are also being grant-aided by SEAI. These loans can be used by people who want to undertake a deep-retrofit or who might prefer to undertake individual measures, for example, external wall insulation or the installation of a heat pump.

It is anticipated that the loans will be available in Q1 2024 through participating retail lenders.

A lot done, more to do and strong momentum and commitment to get it done.

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