Can Renewable Energy Bring New Business to Heating Engineers?

Dennis Flower

There have been a number of negative reports on the topic of renewable energy, which have spread the idea that it is not worth the effort for smaller companies to get involved.

Government incentives designed to encourage householders and installers to explore the various options have had the opposite effect in several areas. The latest of these is solar PV.

The initial success of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) resulted in the previous administration introducing dramatic reductions in a desperate attempt to regain control of the number of systems being installed, and the money being paid out to support them, with the result that many specialist businesses were forced to close.

A number of government schemes and incentives have been changed, watered down, or cancelled, showing that any company using them as their main business driver needs to tread very carefully. In addition to the FiT, there have been disappointments surrounding both the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the now infamous Green Deal in the last few years.

While it's a bad idea to become too heavily involved in any government-backed scheme, that doesn't mean renewable energy should be avoided at all costs. There are numerous examples of plumbing and heating companies that have increased profits by adding a renewable aspect to their business.

Successful business owners know that any major changes can only be implemented after all the necessary aspects have been carefully considered—and it's the same for businesses considering involvement with renewable technologies.

The guidelines below can help you get started, but there will will be more to consider based on your individual business.

Get training and support.

Fortunately there are a variety of trade associations and organisations that can provide valuable assistance for those seeking to become involved with renewable energy, easily discoverable through an Internet search.

Renewable energy is not a way to earn to quick buck: Businesses looking to explore the options need to be prepared to invest in appropriate levels of training and accreditation.

However, if you're ready to invest the time, money, and training into doing it right, you have every chance of reaping the benefits of renewable energy in the future.

The demise of the gas heater?

Another aspect to consider is that many studies predict that the UK will see a move away from the gas boiler in the next decade, so extending the options provided by your plumbing and heating business can help the company prepare for this.

An increasing number of new houses are already being built without gas boilers as their main source of heating, and future updates to the Building Regulations are expected to influence this further.

While it's a fact that central heating systems—typically using the gas boiler as the main heat generation option—will continue as a popular option for householders for many years to come, there are many factors attempting to drive the market towards more environmentally friendly options that will likely see more success in the future.

Is renewable energy a good option for your plumbing & heating business?

Decide whether renewable technology is a viable option for your plumbing & heating company.

Follow these steps to figure out if you should get involved with renewable technology.
  1. Examine the local area to see if it's more suited to a particular renewable technology.
  2. Check into local government schemes for renewables, which may prove to be an influencing factor.
  3. Look at all renewable options to determine which, if any, is better suited to your business.
  4. Ask the relevant department of your trade association for advice.
  5. Consider the cost of training and/or gaining accreditation for each type of renewable technology.
  6. Talk to manufacturers of renewables, many of which provide specialist training courses.
  7. Discuss the options with your company's engineers to gauge their willingness to become involved.
  8. Explain the benefits of gaining new skills to engineers.
  9. Train and advise all staff if a decision is made in favour of renewables, so they can pass this information on to existing and new customers.
  10. Consider employing engineers with renewable energy expertise or partnering with businesses with the necessary expertise.

Ready to boost your plumbing & heating business even more? Download our free guide below to learn how to get ready for the busy heating season.

5 key steps to prepping for the heating season

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