Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Can Still Go Green, despite Subsidy Cuts; A Solar Power Installation Firm Is Heading for a Bright Future despite Being Hit by Cuts to Government Renewable Energy Subsidies

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Can Still Go Green, despite Subsidy Cuts; A Solar Power Installation Firm Is Heading for a Bright Future despite Being Hit by Cuts to Government Renewable Energy Subsidies

Article excerpt

SHORTLY after coming into power last year, David Cameron pledged to create the greenest Government in the history of UK politics.

It was a bold move designed to win the hearts and minds of the British public.

But in recent months the Prime Minister has come under heavy fire for failing to deliver on his environmental promises.

The most recent wave of criticism has been sparked by Government plans to slash subsidies for household solar electricity. From next April subsidies for small-scale installations will be halved for installations made after the cut-off point of December 12, 2011.

Critics say the move could put small solar power installation companies out of business.

But one green-minded company is proving that this doesn't have to be the case.

Eco Environments - which installs solar panels, wind turbines and heat pumps all over the country including Teesside - took three months of orders in just two weeks following the news that the cuts would kick in from December 12.

The company is lobbying ministers to reconsider the extent of the cuts but has also been planning for it for some time.

That has allowed the firm to explore other potential revenue streams and keep the business powering along nicely.

Eco director David Hunt said the firm was on course to increase turnover from pounds 1.4m to pounds 5m during its current financial year.

He said: "We knew and accepted that the current subsidy level of 43.3p for smaller domestic and commercial solar PV installations was coming to an end.

"What shocked us and the industry as a whole was the extent of the cut and the speed with which it is being implemented. "When the announcement was made at the end of October, we committed to getting as many customers as possible up and running before December 12, which helped us achieve sales greater than last year's entire turnover in one month.

"We accepted three months' orders in two weeks and could have taken on six months' orders if we hadn't closed the order books to ensure that we could deliver schemes ahead of December 12.

"Our order book also remains healthy and growing for installations after the deadline because customers understand that it remains one of the best investments you can make - far better than an ISA, bank or savings account. …

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