Opinion

Talking point

Zenex Solar’s managing director Liz macFarlane
Zenex Solar’s managing director Liz macFarlane

Liz MacFarlane, Zenex Solar, demonstrates how long term planning will see off short term challenges

I think it’s fair to say that some of the people I share my office with have had a big problem with wind over the last few years. I’d go as far as to say that it’s given some of them sleepless nights. I don’t think they’d mind me telling you that.

Snigger you may, but we share our premises (and chairman) with Evoco Wind Energy.

The matter of wind energy is far from simple, and when Evoco’s flagship 10kW turbine had a failure in 2011 it created a media storm. After being the first turbine in its class to pass MCS accreditation, the team were confident they were bringing a reliable product to market. It was only with a fleet of 200 installations, three years later that an over-speed issue came to light.

While other small-scale wind companies closed their doors due to similar problems, Evoco committed to resolve the issue and invested personal funds and all profits into R&D. Manufacturing was moved to the UK, a new technical team employed and a simple yet effective fix was found. All existing turbines were upgraded at no cost to the customer and now each one is fitted with automatic monitoring and control systems.

It’s a reminder of how new our industry is. The dips and dives, the volatility and the gale force changes will settle with time and it’s those who stand determined and steadfast who will remain in the long term.

I’m always interested and now very proud to hear the Evoco guys in the office talk about customer feedback. To hear of a farmer opening champagne because his turbine out-performs that of his neighbour makes me smile. I’d also like to meet him. Whoever heard of a champagne-drinking farmer?