We're celebrating our 10th anniversary!
Take a look through our history to see what the last decade has looked like for Mypower...
Mypower started as a result of the Founding Partner, Simon Taylor, wanting to install Solar PV on the roof of his commercial property for his company, QCR Recycling Equipment. So, he met with a few installers, and on not liking their approach or costs, decided he could better... so he did, and in February 2010 Mypower was born.
Our beginnings started with the focus on sub 10kW (40 panel) installations on both domestic and commercial properties mainly in the South West. The Feed in Tariff (FiT) helped grow the industry quickly but as we have seen over the 10 years, it was to create a boom and bust effect.
Ben Harrison, now Mypower's Managing Director, joined Mypower in September 2011. Ben is from a local farming family who graduated from Cirencester and obtained his Chartered Surveying qualifications whilst working for local surveyors Bruton Knowles. Ben's professionalism and consultancy background as well as attention to detail has been key to the growth of Mypower over the years.
Kernock Park Plants was our first commercial install of 10kW – Small by today's standards but at the time a significant step for this progressive thinking company. They later went on to install another 10kW in 2013, 100kW in 2014 and a further 94kW in 2019.
The FiT was due to be cut significantly in November 2011 but was later extended to March 2012. During this time, we installed a 30kW solar PV system on the roof Stow Rugby Club. It was our biggest install to date and was a turning point in our focus on slightly larger commercial Solar PV projects.
With the FiT so drastically reduced the industry saw demand fall by 90%. A bust year for most installers but not Mypower. 2012 saw our partnership with a farming co-operative begin. With Ben Harrison's history in farming combined with forward thinking farmers wanting to reduce their electricity bills and diversify their farm income, we began to see the size of installations grown. Our first 50kW installation was on the barn roof of Farmer & Straw merchant, Thomas Gaden, from Stow on the Wold – A recommendation by Stow Rugby Club.
2013 saw us move to new, bigger premises just around the corner from our previous unit and saw another milestone reached, a 125kW installation. The customer, a potato farmer in Cornwall, had rising electricity bills from their cold storage and packing facilities, and wanted to take control. He achieved this by generating his own, clean energy to use on site.
Recovering from the aftermath of the 2012 subsidy cut, Mypower saw its turnover double. The cost of installations had fallen by over 20% and electricity prices started to increase. Business owners were realising the financial benefits and returns solar PV had to offer. Commercial landlords such as Allen Fabrications saw the value in investing in solar PV for their buildings, making their facilities more attractive to their tenants, and providing potential additional revenue streams.
This year saw significant steps for Mypower. We installed a 250kW system at Bako Western, a bakery supplier, and then later in the year another 250kW system at Walsh Mushrooms at their packing factory. Both have been repeat customers of ours, extending their systems or adding to their other sites. In November, we manged to win a contract for a 430 kW system from another installer who was not looking like they could deliver the project before the end of year FiT deadline. With 1 day to go and a cancelled Christmas, we completed our biggest project to date on 30th December. The customer was both astounded and delighted.
In a world first, Mypower installed 150 solar panels on the roof of Gloucester Cathedral, a 1000-year-old grade 1 listed building. The project presented many challenges, but in true Mypower style we never stop until we deliver the best solution. The panels were later blessed by the Dean of Gloucester and received worldwide attention featuring in the national press, including The Times, and on BBC news and radio.
Whilst we were high on the glory of such a prestigious project this year also saw another 65% cut from the government's Feed in Tariff. Like 2012, it was going to be another tough year for the industry. The press was reporting it as all doom and gloom which left business owners wary of what solar PV could offer. Mypower's turnover fell 87%. Solar PV installers were folding aggressively at the cost of 12,000 UK jobs.
Mypower remained positive. We could see grid electricity prices had risen by 30% and solar energy now more than ever could help to reduce electricity bills. Particularly for those high energy consuming businesses who would use the energy onsite. We focused our efforts on emerging markets which had high energy usage; manufacturing, food based, cold storage and healthcare. We won several awards including Commercial Rooftop Solar PV Project of the Year.
We could see times of change ahead.
In January 2018, Neil Stott joined Mypower as our Business Development Director. Neil brought with him 20 years of business to business operations and sales experience with Xerox and Vodafone.
Initial focus was to get the word out about the benefits solar PV delivers to businesses and restore Mypower to the volume of installation not seen since 2016. The green shoots of recovery started coming through mid-way through 2018, with the message finally getting through that solar PV is the lowest cost source of clean electricity for businesses.
Mypower installed on it's first 'inverted roof', a 69kW system for Monssi, a drone surveying company based in Evesham.
Leeway Packaging services contacted Mypower after almost going with alternative supplier. We were called into negotiations late on and within 10 days had a signed contract. A high energy user of around 200,000 kWh per month, their 500kW PV system has been extremely beneficial to them.
Our efforts for pushing into those high energy requirement markets really gained traction. We created partnerships with a number of diverse trade bodies, all seeking to help their members tackle climate change and reduce their operating costs.
Early 2019 saw a rush of companies installing solar PV before the FiT ended for good. For Mypower we were really pleased it had come to an end. Since 2015 we knew that as soon as it stopped the true benefit of solar PV as an alternative, cheaper and green electricity supply would be realised.
However, the closure of the scheme didn’t drop demand, as in 2019 we saw the start of a paradigm shift for business across the UK, with the need to tackle climate change now residing at the top of many businesses’ priority lists.
This included a 150kWp installation for an information management services business based in Dorset. In addition to the environmental benefits, they’ll be generating a third of their electricity needs with electricity cost a third of the grid supplied price – A somewhat compelling reason for businesses to consider solar PV post Feed in Tariff.
2020 sees our 10th anniversary and it proves we are here for the long run. We continue to see significant growth in enquiries, with commercial and industrial customers seeing real short term and long term environmental and commercial benefits of installing their own solar PV systems. ROI continues to increase, and payback is regularly down to 5 years, for a product with a minimum life.
The table below shows typical costs and returns from a 100kW commercial Solar PV install from 2012 to 2020. With grid electricity supplied prices rising and a fall in supply and install costs it meant that ROI and payback are now better than 8 years ago.
For Mypower, this meant we had a great start to our second decade with a 99.45kWp installation for the Wirral NHS Trust that we commenced on the 2nd of January.
Although the financial returns have never been better, companies’ primary driver for installing solar PV continues to be the reduction of their carbon footprint to help tackle climate change. To date our customers have avoided thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Whatever the market (or the government) has thrown at us we have ridden the rollercoaster and will continue to promote the benefits of solar PV for businesses looking to reduce their costs and environmental impact. The UK's energy use will continue to rise with the electrification of vehicles and with that prices.
We truly believe that generating your own clean low cost energy to use onsite represents the best solution for businesses in 2020 and beyond.