SMEs need subsidies to install renewables

10th February 2012

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  • Renewable



More small businesses in the UK would consider installing renewable technologies if the government helped to finance the equipment

A survey of more than 480 owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK has revealed that, while almost one-third expect to have installed solar panels, wind turbines or anaerobic digestion equipment in the next five years, 62% say they are not considering adopting the technology at all.

However, the majority (59%) say that if the government provided subsidies or a grant to help cover the set up costs they would consider installing on-site renewable technology.

A further 42% claim they would be encouraged to switch if they could see how generating at least some of their electricity from renewable sources could create a new revenue scheme.

Interestingly, only 15% say they would be persuaded to make the change by the green expectations of their customers and only 17% by the government introducing financial penalties.

When asked what they saw to be the biggest benefit of adopting renewables, the top answer is "doing our bit to tackle climate change", closely followed by generating income for the business. However, 17% of those surveyed report that adopting renewables would bring no benefits to their business.

Charlie Crossley Cooke, managing director of Opus Energy which conducted the survey, argues the results reveal a genuine interest in adopting renewable technology, but SMEs need greater support.

“With so much talk around the consumer energy sector, we need to be championing the cause for business,” he says. “SMEs have been cited by the government as the backbone to economic recovery in the UK, but so far we are not seeing the support required to help business owners get to grips with energy costs and innovative solutions such as renewables.

“We need more carrot than stick when it comes to the government’s intervention in renewable energy generation.”

The survey results were published as the government confirmed ongoing reductions to the subsidies available for small-scale renewables under the feed-in tariff scheme, which pays installers of solar panels and wind turbines, for example, for every energy kilowatt hour of electricity they generate.


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