Roofspace initiative

Parkway Prestige accident repair centre, Manchester is renting out its roof space for a solar array with investors ensuring it pays no more than 5p per kilowatt hour for its electricity.

Before business partners Dave Gage and Tony McCauley signed up for the 100 kilowatt array at the 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 estimates 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.

‘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 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 £1m worth of motors in any working day.

‘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.’

Eric Redfern, of Green Energy Commercial, 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.

‘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.’