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I spent 20 years in the old energy world of oil and gas. (I know – mea culpa. On the plus side I so far have 10 years in new energy, so only another 10 years to go before I am in credit...). During the first 20 years of my career, I experienced first-hand the critical role of banks and financial investors to fund projects or invest in infrastructure. It’s hard to think of two worlds – oil and finance – that are more closely intertwined.
However, over the last 10 years, it’s been apparent to me that investor interest in the new energy world is largely absent. Yes, there are clean tech investors, and some of these have even made decent returns, but the sector generally has not prospered. Indeed, for many people, it has a negative reputation.
With our Customer Panel research moving into the next stages it is time for another edition in our series of blogs looking at some of the key insights coming from this ongoing research.
Our first exercise conducted earlier this year showed that there continues to be a mismatch between customers who buy microgen and those who want to buy it. The biggest factor that plays into this is the fact that many customers who want to install often cannot afford the upfront investment. However, we find that they are more than open to using alternative funding options that would solve the upfront cost barrier.
I just returned from speaking at F-Cell 2015 in Stuttgart (part of WES 2015), where one of the hot topics was ‘finance’.
And it wasn’t just financing for stationary fuel cell that was being discussed. It was also a hot topic on the adjoining battery storage event.
Our latest research* with installers highlights that, apart from biomass boilers, the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is having minimal impact to their businesses – a worrying fact for DECC and industry as a whole. Despite this, we are optimistic that the RHI can be more successful in 2015 if installers are supported more by industry. Interviews with members of our Installer Panel found three key messages for higher uptake of microgeneration systems in the future:
Installers are not pushing microgen – manufacturers need to provide more support to sell
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