Solar power proves to be a winner for Boldon firms

Gavin Richardson, managing director of Opus Building Services.
Gavin Richardson, managing director of Opus Building Services.
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Two award-winning entrepreneurs are using their own headquarters to show other firms the financial and energy-saving benefits of solar panels.

Gavin Richardson, managing director of Opus Building Services, and Chris Cassells, managing director of sister company Opus Green, have fitted 80 panels to the Opus HQ at Boldon Business Park.

Chris Cassells, managing director of Opus Green.

Chris Cassells, managing director of Opus Green.

The panels – each 1.7m long and about a metre wide – were put up in less than two days, and Chris says they will save a huge amount in energy bills.

He said: “The estimated direct electricity saving for Opus Building Services will be a staggering 70 per cent reduction on their 2014 bill.

“The installation cost for the solar pv system – which will generate 15,540 units of electricity a year – was £20,352, and paid for through an asset finance deal over a five-year term.

“Whilst there is a capital cost, the reality is the income it will generate and the energy savings it will make over the five years will effectively make it self-funding.”

“As a business owner there wasn’t too much to think about” GAVIN RICHARDSON

After the initial five-year loan period, the combination of income and energy savings will generate in excess of £50,000 for Opus or £3,750 a year for the remaining 15 years of a 20-year plan. This will help future proof the business against rising energy costs and slash the company’s carbon footprint.

Chris added: “Furthermore, we will receive £5,604 tax relief in year one as the expenditure is 100 per cent tax deductible.

“Then, of course, there will be an immediate carbon reduction – up to eight tonnes a year – which is of growing importance given increasing taxation on carbon emissions.

“Some business owners or FDs are concerned about realising a financial benefit in the short term, but we can prove a system can be self-financing in five years and the initial capital outlay negated quickly by the savings made from day one.

“Many businesses don’t realise the panels are also a stand alone asset that can be sold with a building or lease if the company decides to relocate or the contract can even be retained to deliver an ongoing income even after they’ve left.”

Gavin said: “Planning is covered by permitted development rights, and there is a 25-year performance guarantee on the solar panels and inverters.

“We’ve had a huge, immediate saving to our electricity bill and are also drastically reducing our carbon footprint. As a business owner there wasn’t too much to think about really.

“There were no upfront costs, apart from the initial set-up £250 fee, and we estimate the net additional cost to the business will be just about £187 per month in year one.

“This will continue to reduce over the five-year loan period due to rising electricity prices and RPI linked payments, and then we’ll be into profit.”

Opus Building Services is a leading contractor of mechanical and engineering services, working throughout the region and across the UK.

Opus Green are green energy experts, established to provide businesses and homeowners with advice and guidance on reducing carbon emissions and cutting their fuel bills.