The Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF) has called for low interest retrofit project loans to be extended to farmers.

This call has come as a result of confirmation from Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, that low interest loans of  3-4% will be available for home energy retrofits early in 2024.

Chairperson of the MREF, Pat Smith, has expressed concern that these loans would only be available to home owners who take on major home energy efficiency retrofit projects.

It would mean the loans may not be available to help fund individual energy efficiency and / or renewable energy measures taken over a period of time.

Smith said that these low interest loans need to be extended to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) businesses and farmers investing into energy efficiency and carbon reduction measures in their businesses and premises.  

The MREF chair said: “Surely the climate actions of farmers and businesses are of equal importance, and the availability of low interest loans just as critical.”

Retrofit loans

The MREF chair said: “Minister Ryan’s reasoning for forcing home owners to take on major retrofits in one go is that it would be less disruptive and more efficient. However, this is not necessarily the case.

“For many households and homeowners, progressing a home energy efficienct and renewable energy project one measure at a time can be less disruptive, and more affordable for many home owners,” he added.

Smith said that an “all-or-nothing approach” would “rule out tens of thousands of households from taking action as they will not want to expose themselves to significant debt”.

Making these low interest loans available to fund individual measures including insulation, solar PV, or a heat pump retrofit, Smith said, would “empower thousands more households” to take a “vital first step to improve the energy efficiency of their homes”.