Recent research undertaken by renewable energy specialists, Puragen, has revealed that electrical contractors are embracing the renewables revolution to future-proof their business.
Nearly a third (31%) have already moved into the renewables market in recognition that it’s the future for their career, and more than half (52%) are keen to look into the possibility with 29% considering expanding their offer as a means to grow their business.
The UK renewables energy market has a predicted value of £6.5bn by 2015 and there has been a significant surge in solar installations. One in five (20%) of contractors said they frequently get asked about renewable energy technologies and more than half (52%) said they occasionally get asked.
Two thirds (65%) of contractors believe the main driver for people choosing renewables is the money earned from subsidies such as the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT). In addition, saving money on energy costs was also felt to be important for one fifth (21%) of homeowners. Surprisingly, contractors reported less than three percent of customers have a desire for a greener lifestyle.
However, recent controversy has surrounded the FiT following the government’s announcement to drop the rate. Nearly half (46%) of contractors felt that it is important the subsidy is fixed and stable so customers know exactly what benefits they will receive. In addition, 22% thought a subsidy that pays returns of around seven percent on investment for the life of the product is more appropriate.
To support their business’ offer, more than a quarter (27%) of contractors have dedicated employees trained in renewables. However, the main barrier for those that haven’t already ventured into offering renewables is the cost of training, with 37% saying they have looked into it but it was too expensive. Size of the business is restricting more than a third (38%) of contractors who are a one-man band and can’t facilitate the demand. For a further 35%, knowledge holds them back as they believe they are not informed enough to understand the options available to them, despite the abundance of industry training courses and information on offer.
Jeremy Malindine from Puragen commented, “Venturing into renewables really is a fantastic opportunity for contractors who already have the basic skills and technical knowledge to understand solutions such as solar PV. There clearly is an appetite among businesses and homeowners to consider renewable solutions so for contractors eager to become more forward thinking, by looking at partnerships, support networks and franchise opportunities that can support them in this aim, they are future-proofing their business.”
For those looking to venture into offering renewables, solar PV hits the top spot (74%) as the technology contractors are most interested in offering. Ground source heat pumps (28%) and solar thermal (26%) ranked second and third.