Low-cost loans for home retrofits face fresh delays amid ‘intensive’ engagement

Homeowners will be offered low interest loans of up to €50,000 to fund home upgrades

The Government’s plans for a low-cost loan guarantee scheme for home energy upgrades looks set to be further delayed and will now not be in place for another number of months.

Under the scheme, which is a key component of the Coalition’s Climate Action Plan, homeowners will be offered low-interest loans of up to €50,000 to fund home upgrades.

Despite previous indications from the Government that the scheme would be in place in summer 2022, the Department of the Environment has said that it will be available “in the coming months” instead.

The proposed scheme will have a lending portfolio of about €500 million. It will be part-funded by the Department of the Environment and the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, and backed by a counter-guarantee provided by the European Investment Bank Group.


The Government and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) have been engaging with the EIB on the guarantee structure. It is understood that a number of banks and credit unions have submitted formal expressions of interest to participate in the scheme as lenders.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said “significant progress” had been made to date in identifying lenders.

“There has also been extensive due diligence between the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and the Irish banking and credit union sector. Intensive engagement to develop this complex scheme is ongoing and it is expected that the loan guarantee will be in place in the coming months. Further detail on the scheme parameters will be available at that time but it is anticipated that unsecured loans of up to €50,000 will be available.”

The Government is hoping that the introduction of lower-cost loans will help to build on retrofit targets needed to help Ireland achieve its climate goals.

“Last year, over 27,700 home energy upgrades were supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), exceeding the target of 26,940. This represented a 79 per cent increase in delivery over 2021,” a spokesman for the department said.

The low-cost loans will be available alongside the current grants for energy upgrades. It was originally thought that the interest rate for the loans would be about 3.5 per cent.

The Government’s Climate Action Plan aims to see 500,000 homes around the country retrofitted to a B2 energy rating by 2030. The Government is also aiming to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings by the end of 2030.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times