A CASH-injection of a third of a million, or £333,640 to be precise, means a great deal to most businesses…but when it’s free it’s even better….though it’s not quite money for nothing.
For high end body shop repairers Parkway Prestige are renting out their roof space for a solar array and investors are ensuring they pay no more than 5p per kilowatt hour for their electricity when the sun is in the sky.
Before business partners Dave Gage and Tony McCauley signed up for the 100 kilowatt array at their Monde Trading Estate premises at Trafford Park the pair were paying 13p per kilowatt hour – the savings over 25 years will be a third of a million pounds.
Tony reckons the £200,000 saving over 20 years will finance a dozen apprenticeships in the business and ensure the company’s future come rain shine through to the next generation. The saving in the final five years is greater as the deal with the investors who fitted the solar array for free will have run out, so the electricity savings will be even bigger.
Dave, 49, who has run the business for 22 years and they are now approved body shop repairers for Bentley, Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Mercedes, Skoda and Nissan, said: ‘The one thing we all know is that energy costs are going up – so fixing a deal now made total sense.
‘For us the savings help with the profit in the business, but were also keen to do something about reducing our carbon footprint.
‘It was a very quick process from start to finish and in three months the deal was done and dusted and the panels were in place.
‘It’s working and it’s already putting something back into the National Grid.
‘This is planning for our future and free off the big fellow in the sky.
‘We’re not wasting money on utility bills now and this is a 20 year deal.
‘The motor trade and body repairing is a dying skill, but people who come into this trade are not usually top achievers in exams. They are petrolheads and car enthusiasts, so don’t need to pass all the exams at school.
‘The money will help us bring apprentices through. We have people here in awe of working with some very classy cars, they can be surrounded by £1 million worth of motors in any working day.
‘They get to see how they are built, how they are rebuilt and put back together.
‘We do keep the workshops spotless as nobody wants to work in the dingy and dirty places of the past. People want factory clean and bright and we do that here.
‘We need the intense lighting to ensure an even finish on bodywork on the sides of the cars as well as on the roof and bonnet.
‘I know saving £200,000 in electricity bills in 20 years sounds too good to be true, but we can see the meters and know we will saving £6,530 already this year.’
Dave prides himself on the family built up business and his daughter Kelly, 31, already works in customer services and Tony’s youngest son Rhys, 17, is keen to follow in his father’s footsteps after his studies with an interest in motor design.
Father-of-four Tony, who trains three apprentices among the 27 staff at Parkway Prestige, added: ‘Our energy bill at the moment is about £3,000 a month – paying just over half of that will make a difference.
‘It’s a dozen apprentices over the life of the deal. These are people who will be trained up and the package we have got will pay for that.’
Arthur Bell said: ‘It’s a win, win for businesses – we can ensure they fix their electricity bill and the free fit systems can save them a fortune over the lifetime of the deal.
‘We are doing similar deals for scores and scores of small businesses and medium sized firms and even household names can see a return on their bottom line by fitting panels.
‘On top of all that it’s helping to save the planet by reducing the carbon footprint of the businesses involved.
‘But we are also rolling out the free fit schemes for sports clubs – golf, rugby, football, you name it – if they have their own premises then there are massive savings to be made and that’s money in club coffers at the end of the day.
‘The Government is looking to almost double the cost of Carbon Credits to businesses from 2020, this means that the wise companies are making their own investment into renewable energy right now.
‘Currently ‘listed’ companies have to report their Carbon usage, but this is strongly thought to soon be expanded to companies with over 100 employees and then onwards as our Government work tirelessly on hitting the nation’s 2020 EU environmental target and commitments.’