Lancashire firm shining bright through changing times

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A renewable energy company is continuing to go from strength to strength despite Government cuts to subsidies aiding the solar power industry.

SOLFEX energy systems was set up by husband & wife team Stuart & Susan Cooper in 2006.

The Bamber Bridge-based company was acquired in Jan 2013 by the FTSE 100 listed company, Travis Perkins PLC for an initial sum of over £ 8million.

The company’s revenue at the time of the acquisition was over £ 22 million and SOLFEX have gone on a remarkable journey of growing the business to over £ 35.6million T/O & pre-tax profit of over £ 2.1million in 2015.

Originally, the business was set up trading from the back of a farm in Hutton and distributed solar thermal products.

Over the years the product portfolio expanded into selling photovoltaic (PV) equipment, heat pumps & floor heating systems.

Under generous government incentives for installing renewable energy technology the business flourished over the years, and in 2012 SOLFEX Ltd was voted the UKs fifth-fastest growing business in the Virgin sponsored Sunday Times Fast Track 100.

Stuart Cooper, managing director said: “It’s been an incredible journey over the last 10 years and despite operating in a policy driven market which creates its own challenges, we always knew we had a market leading proposition of products and services installers and homeowners alike needed, myself and the team worked extremely hard to ensure we were at the forefront of the renewables market by aligning ourselves with strategic global manufactures to keep ahead of the competition.”

However, it has not always been plain sailing for the business, which now employs 28 people, and Mr Cooper said it had been forced to adapt.

He said: “The government intervention of cutting the feed in tariff by 67 per cent has severely hit our business at the start of 2016.

“Over 80 per cent of our PV installing account customers have gone out of business and don’t exist anymore, this presents us with a major challenge of how to get back to our original growth projections and deliver the numbers our group demand.

“Quite simply we have had to streamline our operation and reduce our costs, we have also had to find new revenue streams and we are not holding out to see if the PV market returns to any significant volume.

“Myself and the team are entirely focused on the new challenges ahead and we are already moving into other areas such as residential and commercial battery storage, and growing our existing sales channels within our floor heating division, this is just the start of the next chapter”

Paul Joyner, who is managing director for Sustainable Building Solutions and part of the Travis Perkins PLC mergers & acquisitions team who acquired SOLFEX LTD added: “Our partnership with Stuart and the team at SOLFEX Ltd has allowed us to participate at the forefront of the energy efficiency market, with some significant and exciting successes over the last three years.

“The expertise of our colleagues in SOLFEX Ltd will enable us to drive further sustainable growth through energy efficiency product innovation and distribution in the future.”