The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Better Energy Programme. The SEAI has informed my Department that the applicant applied to the scheme for a solar thermal system grant and BER and a letter of offer was issued on the 8 March 2012. A grant expiry reminder letter was sent to the homeowner on the 9 July 2012 advising that under the rules of the scheme the offer would automatically expire on the 9 September 2012, if all documentation was not returned ahead of this date. The SEAI did not receive the grant documentation and consequently the grant expired on the 10 September and a letter issued informing the applicant that the grant had expired.
Following on from this the SEAI received completed paperwork on the 4 October 201,2 which was almost a month after the grant had expired and the grant request was declined due to expiry of offer.
To ensure the transparent use and administration of Exchequer funding, the SEAI is committed to delivering processes and systems, which are clear and efficient, and which operate in a manner that is fair to all applicants. The scheme rules explicitly state that the grant offer, once accepted, remains valid for 6 months from the date of issue of Grant Offer notification. In accepting the grant offer the applicant accepts all conditions of the scheme. It is not possible to make exceptions as to do so would be to alter the terms of the scheme and create a precedent for any other parties who have found themselves ineligible. Therefore the grant cannot be paid for this work as the terms and conditions of the grant offer were not met.
Queries in relation to individual applications are an operational matter for the SEAI and a dedicated hot line can be reached at 1800 250 204. In addition, the SEAI has recently established a specific email address for queries from Oireachtas members, which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be dealt with promptly.