Two minutes with

Who are you?
Richard Waxman

What do you do?
I’m the chairman of The Waxman Group. Our companies Waxman Energy and Waxman Renewables specialise in the distribution of a wide range of solar PV, biomass, solar thermal systems and air source heat pumps.

Where are you?
At our 40,000 sq ft office and warehouse complex in Elland, West Yorkshire.

How’s business at the moment?
During the past 12 months we’ve experienced significant growth in our solar PV business. The recent drama surrounding the government’s legal action, attempting to retrospectively reduce the feed-in tariff (FiT), added significant uncertainty to the sector, as have the latest FiT cuts. Following a relatively slow level of activity in March, we are now anticipating an increase in business prior to the forthcoming FiT cuts.

How could it be better?
Clearly the cut in the FiT was designed to reduce the upward surge in demand for PV. Theoretically it would be better with a higher FiT but we have to be realistic and work within what has been granted, which is still a significant help to the industry. More certainty about the future FiT levels, as well as more clarity about the Government’s long term renewables strategy, would be a great help for us and I guess all those involved in the solar PV industry.

Who do you admire in renewables?
On a company level I admire SMA Solar Technology, which has the most technologically advanced factory I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. In terms of individuals it has to be Thomas Wedde, SMA’s former UK sales development manager. He gave us the confidence to believe that the potential growth rate for renewables in the UK could be as significant as he was seeing in other markets. His advice has always been appreciated and respected.

What’s the best business advice you have received?
It was from my father actually. He said that you should always consider the downside risk rather than the upside potential. That is, what is the worst thing that can happen and are you able to accept the worst case scenario? As a result, we have diversified carefully, taking risks but never risks so great that they could jeopardise the company or the group.

How are you going green?
Personally, I’m very happy to have installed PV panels at my home, and we have also completed two installations at our head offices, the larger of the two being 200 panels. We are also installing biomass boilers to heat our new offices. It’s exciting to be using some of the technologies we’re selling, which makes us really feel a part of the renewables industry.