By Paul Casebourne
David Inscoe of Solar Access explains the opportunities which abound in solar power and what they mean in front line earnings for our manufacturing and service sectors. Could this be the sort of thing UK Ltd needs to get it out of recession and making more things again? Does it provide the perfect partner for banks and industry?
In the very grand setting of a bygone opulent era, but nonetheless very comfortable surroundings of Eynsham Hall near Witney, David and I discussed his business, frankly and openly. From the start I wanted to know what was in it for engineering, what was it going to deliver to our beleaguered manufacturing sector or are we just too late again and have all the opportunities been sold down the river to every other EU member with a more suitable climate than ours. Funnily enough David says ‘no’, we do have a sunshine belt here in the UK, and it doesn’t all shine out of London, although Westminster is a "Hotspot". David explains:
Right now if you get into solar energy you stand to gain over 8.5% more on your investment than if you wait until 2012. Why? Because Westminster starts to pull the plug on the subsidies which have a 3 year quantitive investment review which is more likely to go down than up, but if you do it now it’s copper bottomed for the next 25 years!
Why would you want to get a slice of solar action? Well it turns out there is more to this than meets the eye. Solar energy, David explains, ticks all the right boxes, for example:-
1. The way we build and site our buildings needs to take into account the structural facility for solar panelling. This gets our fabricators and designers busy thinking about construction techniques and green design build opportunities
2. The co-ordinators need suppliers who can rise to this need intellectually and productively, so a project manager should make it a priority to have in his/her portfolio the people skills and service support it needs to put solar power on the table as a viable business choice – because it is!
3. The facilities managers need to be rehearsed in running and maintaining installations and be able to tackle any opportunity that comes their way by offering trained staff to look after these installations.
4. Anyone in building, engineering, fabrication or materials handling needs to brush up on this technology or risk passing up the possibilities of lucrative opportunities to recommend or supply solar systems. People will pay for this information.
5. Engineering is an opportunity into an A1 investment situation by understanding the issues and problem solving at an early stage to have the right product in place to appeal to the owner/buyer and turn the dream into reality
6. If you are a chartered surveyor, architect or property developer and it has not yet occurred to you to incentivise clients, tenants, owners and investors with solar power business potential then you need to read this again. Solar power pays, this means people will be signing up for these properties in preference to non solar properties because, like the Hot Dog, they feed the hand that bites them! So you actually get a return on your money!!
7. If you are in the industry and have a hydrogen cell making business, for example, and you are not talking to a company like Solar Access you are potentially missing out on a partnering opportunity that could revolutionise our renewable resources and prospectively let fossil fuels become obsolete.
8. You are an investor looking for a safe investment, this is about as safe as it comes.
I see you are thinking that is only 8 – I have been short changed, well the last two are still to come, this is the twist
9. What if I bought your roof?
10. What if I provide you with an income?
Well, Solar Access are just one of a few companies who will do this but in their case they will actually engineer a solution and have already committed substantial investment to ensure installations are practical, they have done a great deal to ensure standards and products combine to produce a cost effective outcome which means if you own, manage or are building a roof space in excess of 2000 square meters you could be earning a substantial sum of money, so much so that you can sell it or recommend it to Solar Access and they will produce a revenue stream for you from your roof that may even include repairing your roof too!
Companies like Solar Access depend upon an existing infrastructure to deliver their product, that is why the opportunities abound. We do have an infrastructure of appropriate skills which could easily transfer or train up for or launch a 25 year or more career in what is a job underpinned by the government in a bid to get renewable energy facilities up, running and standalone viable. Is this not what we really need to get UK Ltd back making things again? Keep it going Westminster!
The rest of the European market might have become too greedy through having it too good over the last 5 years, could this be our chance at last – who knows, but if we are to keep the lights on we need to be thinking about sustainable power sources and beyond renewable, nuclear, fossil and hydro there doesn’t appear to be anything else on the horizon about to cause a manufacturing gold rush.
If you haven’t thought of solar power in terms of manufacturing, service, design or project management but would like to do so I am sure David Inscoe would be more than happy to answer your questions, just as he did mine!
SolarAccess UK Ltd
5, Silverdown Office Park
Fair Oak Close
Exeter EX5 2UX
T: +44 (0) 1392 916 000