The energy organisation has been awarded a Euro 37m five-year budget.

It can give up to Euro 7.5m per year to fund specialist green energy systems in companies and domestic houses across the country, reports the Sunday Business Post.

Brian Motherway, head of industry programmes at SEI, said that a Euro 20,000 grant-aid scheme for start-up companies will be available to business incubation centres in colleges.

Homeowners can also apply for a grant of up to Euro 3,500 to cover the cost of the installation of heat pumps or solar thermal panels.

Mr Motherway warned that the SEI’s role was “not to act as a business development agency” but that there is a danger that banks could “ignore projects they don’t understand, and go for the obvious ones such as wind and wave power”.

SEI has recently published a new report which shows that funding in energy projects increased by Euro 15.5m in 2006, with a total of Euro 28m invested across Ireland.

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