Demand from the commercial and agricultural sectors for renewable energy remains strong despite government cuts in subsidy – that is the news from a Watton-based renewable energy company which has announced a record year in 2015.
Abel Energy saw turnover climb by 82 per cent over the previous year, as rising energy costs lead to more businesses and farms turning to renewables for their energy needs.
The firm installed 4.4mW of solar photovoltaic panels during the year (an average of 48 panels every single day), as well as 2.6 mW of biomass heating. That is equivalent to a carbon saving of 4,357 tonnes – or a family car driving around the equator 190 times.
Abel Energy is predicting further growth in 2016, driven both by increasing demand, and the launch of its containerised Combined Heat & Power (CHP) generator at the LAMMA show in Peterborough earlier this month.
The business specialises in the commercial and agricultural sectors, and so has not been as affected by the government cuts in Feed-In-Tariffs, which have hit firms operating in the residential market.
“We have continued to see a big growth in demand for renewable energy, as businesses and farms realise that the savings to be made on their energy usage are considerable,” said Abel Energy managing director Chris Abel.
“We have installed everything from relatively small farm-roof solar PV systems to a one megawatt biomass system during the year, and it is this flexibility to offer a system designed for individual businesses which has helped us grow.
“2016 is looking like we will continue to see growth, especially with the launch of our containerised CHP generator, which attracted considerable attention from the agricultural market at the LAMMA show earlier this month. This compact, truly innovative unit offers users simple installation and management, and will help us grow our business again this year.”
Abel Energy’s turnover was “circa £5m” in 2015, said Tony Abel, chairman of the family-owned Abel Group, of which the company is a part. He said profits were in line with the industry norm, but comparisons were complicated by a company reorganisation 18 months ago.
Mr Abel said the company hoped to add another million to turnover this year, with a particular focus on CHP and battery technology, which is becoming increasingly efficient. “You only have solar power during the day and wind when it’s windy, so on those still, dark nights you need to
have been able to harness and store that energy,” he added. “The technology is developing. It
isn’t completely cost-effective in all situations but we are well on the way to that.”