The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has welcomed the announcement by Minister Patrick O’Donovan at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS).

  • SEAI registered heat pump installers eligible to claim €500 to offset costs of attending training. 
  • Climate Action Plan target is to have 400,000 heat pumps installed by 2030. 

The new incentive scheme financially incentivises qualified plumbers who take time off work to complete Domestic Heat Pump Installation training. From the end of July, the scheme will give plumbers a €500 cash incentive if they take time off work to upskill as SEAI registered heat pump installers. The €500 is a clear acknowledgement by the Government that while upskilling is advantageous for employees and their employers, it can be costly in terms of lost working hours. This scheme will help to offset this cost and SEAI believes it will be a game changer for small and medium contractors looking to upskill their staff, and for plumbers keen to future proof their careers.  

With many homeowners now replacing their boilers with heat pumps, this training programme provides plumbers with a qualification that is in increasing demand, unlocking significant future work opportunities. For employers, the scheme is an investment in their team, which will deliver immediate benefits. 

The SEAI acknowledges the importance of this scheme in helping Ireland to meet heat pump targets set out in the Climate Action Plan. These targets include the installation of 400,000 heat pumps into existing houses by 2030, with an interim target of 45,000 by 2025. There are currently not enough heat pump installers to deliver these volumes, which is why this incentive is so important. The SEAI strongly supports this scheme’s potential to achieve an additional 300 certified and registered heat pump installers this year, increasing installation capacity by thousands of heat pumps each year. 

Dr Ciaran Byrne, Director of National Retrofit at SEAI said: 

SEAI is constantly engaging with contractors and manufacturers to understand the challenges they are facing and to identify any impediments to them growing their operations. We can then collaborate with them and other government departments to find ways to remove these barriers and support the supply chain as it scales. This incentivisation scheme is a great example of how SEAI and DFHERIS have been working together. We have heard from contractors and plumbers that lost earnings while training is a real barrier and we have delivered a very practical solution.

Addressing the lost earnings barrier is just one area where SEAI is working to ensure more homeowners can avail of an SEAI grant to install a heat pump. SEAI is also working with course providers, manufacturers, and installers to review the Level 6 Heat Pump Installation and Commissioning course and will advise SOLAS on any updates to be included. This will ensure that the course stays aligned with current technology and plumbers are adequately qualified. There are currently five training locations where a plumber can train as a heat pump installer and SEAI is working with manufacturers, resellers, and training providers to find ways to increase the numbers of courses available nationwide. 

SEAI is also currently exploring the feasibility of widening access for homeowners to heat pumps. This includes a research study, with homeowners and contractors, examining the performance of heat pumps and the scope to relax the current heat loss indicator (HLI) requirement. In time, this could mean many more homeowners availing of an SEAI heat pump grant.  

Dr Ciaran Byrne concluded: 

By upskilling as a heat pump installer, plumbers are playing an active part in Ireland’s renewable energy transformation. Now is the time to take that step and future proof your career by participating in this scheme.