Scottish renewable energy specialist Solar Electricity Systems has dramatically reinforced predictions of a boom in the domestic green energy market with a forecast of a more than seventeen-fold increase in earnings.
The company has posted sales of £10.75m in the period to the end of 2011, compared to just £712k in the seventeen months from start up to 31 March 2011.
And Solar Electricity Systems, founded by Scottish businessman Jim Kirkland, 46, from Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, is now forecasting that current financial year sales through to 31 March 2012 will soar to a remarkable £12.5m.
The company is riding a wave of interest in PV solar panels which attract a Feed-in Tariff (FiT), which means that consumers who install the systems are entitled to a cash return on the electricity they create and feed in to the National Grid.
The Glasgow-based company has also boosted its headcount to 40, and has expanded its current premises at Parkway Point, just off the M8, to 6000 sq ft. Crucially for its continued growth, Solar Electricity Systems has achieved accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
MCS accreditation is a significant barrier to entry, taking considerable time and costing up to £20,000. But to qualify for feed-in tariff, consumers must ensure that the equipment they install has to be produced by an MCS-certified manufacturer and it has to be installed by an MCS-certified installer.
Jim Kirkland said: “Accreditation is vitally important to our current success and our future growth. It is a guarantee to customers that they are getting a top quality service which will allow them to be fully compliant with government schemes – but still at a remarkably competitive price.”
Mr Kirkland made the point that some larger and more high profile companies offering PV solar panel supply and installation were not accredited and had to sub-contract to accredited installers – while at the same time charging more than twice what Solar Electricity Systems is charging.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change forecast last year that more than hundreds of thousands of homes could have solar panels over 25 years and interest has been stimulated since then by an inexorable rise in energy costs with energy suppliers predicting more rises in the future.
However, uncertainties over the levels of feed-in tariff have made the costs of panels more competitive than ever, with price reductions of up to 30 per cent. Solar Electricity Systems has led the competition by dealing directly with manufacturers and squeezing the supply chain in order to achieve the best prices, which it is then able to pass on to customers.
It is currently looking significantly widening its product range with various new energy saving measures which tie in with the company’s core proposition of solar panels. Its expansion plans also include advancing out of the domestic market into commercial premises and the lucrative social housing market.
Mr Kirkland said: “The rapid growth we have experienced over 2011 means we are currently on track to record sales of more than £12.5 million in the year to March 2012. And, just like the solar energy our PV panels produce, we believe our future growth is wholly sustainable.”