Too many firms are offering cookie cutter renewable solutions

The renewable energy industry is hampering its growth through too many firms offering off the shelf solutions and providing conflicting information – leaving potential customers too confused to make a choice.

It’s a problem I’ve encountered frequently and the results highlight just how much unbiased, expert advice is needed to drive progress towards renewable and sustainability goals.

Companies are frequently using salespeople to leave those considering a switch to green energy solutions perplexed with too much information and indecipherable spreadsheets.

It’s leading to potential cash and carbon savings falling to the wayside because businesses and consumers simply don’t know what action to take.

It’s an issue that I aimed to amend by setting up Future Energy Solutions, drawing on experience working in the renewable sector.

Since operating we’ve come across many customers who have seen renewable companies in the past that have recommended inappropriate tech or a solution that doesn’t deliver the maximum benefits. Often these companies advise a customer on the biggest system they can have or have a select solution they recommend to every client, regardless of their unique needs.

It’s an approach that’s turning many possible renewable converts off the idea of embracing clean energy in their own homes or businesses.

Match the customer to the product

We recently provided a solution for a business that had been recommended a 300kwp solar PV installation at a cost of £300,000, despite only using around 30% of the energy that this number of panels would have generated.

The company would have been exporting the majority of the energy back to the grid with a return of just 4.91p. The huge upfront cost, limited return, and complicated information they had been given meant they ended up not acting at all, even though there were more appropriate solutions.

Instead, we assess how a customer currently uses their energy and their operations. Our proposal to this client was to install a thermodynamic store hot water device – a huge cash saving piece of tech for businesses that need lots of hot water – while optimising the voltage system and recommending a 50kwp solar PV system.

The result was £25,000 in cash savings and tonnes of savings in terms of carbon reduction – and all at less than a third of the cost of the original recommendation.

This single example is stereotypical of our customers’ experiences of working with sales-focused renewable businesses and demonstrates how the demand for advice in a rapidly growing and increasingly crucial sector.

Our way of working in the best interests of the customer, supported by a network of installers for various products, ensures that the most convenient and cost-effective technology is put in place.

If we want to meet renewable goals, there needs to be a shift from selling to matching the customer with the correct product for their needs. Fortunately, it’s a change that can happen to cut the UK’s reliance of fossil fuels and support renewable deployment.

Joel Tetlow

Joel Tetlow

Managing director, Future Energy Solutions

2 thoughts on “Too many firms are offering cookie cutter renewable solutions

  • 16th March 2017 at 12:44 pm
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    I’m very interested in the detail here. We know that a typical TD hot water system is circa 2kW and up to 300l of DHW. The implication of the article is that the TD provided more than this?

    Any renewable design and install company worth its “salt” should always provide more than one solution, in this example if the hot water demand was high and electricity of up to 50kW can be consumed on site why not Combined Heat and Power (CHP) for example?

    Our business, for example, will not tie itself to any one supplier for PV, ASHP, GSHP, TD, Solar thermal or CHP because it’s not a one size fits all industry.

    Reply
    • 16th March 2017 at 2:56 pm
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      Hello James
      Many thanks for your comments they are greatly appreciated. We did consider CHP but the hot water demand was not constant and therefore the 100Kw of thermal units produced would not of been used. The demand for the electricity was there but the heat demand wasn’t. The TD that we offer customers has a COP ( Coefficient of performance) of upto 1 in 6.9 meaning that the Kw output is upto 7Kw heat and the volume is 500ltrs x 2. This system has already been installed in many dairy farms saving circa £4000 per annum. We also do not favor one product over another as we believe one size does not fit all. We like to match the business to the correct products.

      Reply

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