Kingspan turns close to home

Kingspan Renewables is looking to increase sales in its native Ireland and has called on the government to make the sector more financially attractive.

With just 5 per cent of global sales occurring in Eire, compared to 43 per cent in the UK, the company insists that there is scope for increasing its market share.

Although its parent company has over 5,600 employees based globally at 43 different sites, Kingspan’s renewable division has laid down roots in Northern Ireland since opening its Portadown factory in 2010. It would now like to see moves towards establishing renewable financial incentives with guaranteed payment terms much like the provisions of the UK’s Feed-in Tariff.

Shane Caher, Kingspan Renewables’ operations director, said: “We are the largest player by far on the solar tube side. And that’s partly because of where we are – it’s our home market so we want a bit of a presence.

“We see Ireland very much as an island, not north and south. There’s still a bit of building in Ireland and we still have the energy requirements to meet over the next 10 years despite the economic difficulties.

“The Feed-in Tariff cannot be altered for 25 years in the UK. That is what has to happen in Ireland – it needs to be stable and not keep changing if demand is to grow.”

The company has also set out its vision to make all 43 sites energy neutral by 2020. Entitled the ‘NetZero Journey’, this target will be achieved through greener energy generation and energy efficiency measures such as insulation.

Gilbert McCarthy, managing director of Kingspan Insulated Panels, added: “There are so many ways we can take action towards achieving net-zero energy, and it is important to lead by example. We are planning to roll out a basket of measures across all of our operations.

“It is a real challenge for manufacturers, but one that is well worth pursuing, both in terms of cutting energy costs, reducing our reliance on power from the grid and exceeding customer expectations in managing our own environmental impacts.”