Solar Energy Centre has a bright future in contracts

RENEWABLE energy firm Solar Energy Centre is targeting a rise in public sector contracts following a rise in interest in solar panel systems.

Aileen and David Pollard

RENEWABLE energy firm Solar Energy Centre is targeting a rise in public sector contracts following a rise in interest in solar panel systems.

The Northumberland company is seeing a burst of interest in installing photovoltaic systems, following the Government’s move to allow householders to sell their solar generated electricity to energy companies.

The company – which was set up by husband and wife team David and Aileen Pollard – recently moved from an Ashington business start-up centre to a premises in Morpeth town centre. Installation of PV solar panel systems now makes up 70% of business. Aileen said: “Business from domestic households has soared as people realise they can actually make money from solar energy, but we are really excited about the prospect of doing more work for local authorities as they look to capitalise on the roofs of their properties, as well as cutting their energy bills and slashing their carbon footprint.”

The Pollards have already secured a place on a regional local authority supplier register with help from the Procurement Centre, which offers support and advice for Northumberland businesses looking to break into the public sector. The free service is offered by TEDCO on behalf of Northumberland County Council, and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Go Wansbeck programme.

It offers a match-making service to let local firms know about tenders on offer, as well as one-to-one advice.

Aileen said: “To take the business to the next level, we needed to be winning more public sector work and approached The Procurement Centre for free one-to-one help. This basically put us in a position where we had the right paperwork to really go for it.”

Renewable energy is an issue of interest to both business and government as the UK aims to generate 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. However, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technology were left off the list of key renewable technologies mentioned in last week’s UK Renewable Energy Roadmap.

The report argued solar PV is more expensive than some other renewable technologies, but should be able to compete in the next few years. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has argued it focused on the “technologies capable of making the most significant yet cost-effective contribution” to meeting the targets.

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