Soaring demand for solar panels helps B-engineering Group to shine

Soaring demand for solar panels is driving expansion for a building services group amid an increased focus on renewables projects by its growing client base.

B-engineering Group has secured orders totalling £500,000 for commercial solar schemes since October.

Warrington-based B-engineering Group has won projects across Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Cumbria to design, install and maintain solar photovoltaic panel schemes for education, healthcare and industrial clients.

Its solar success contributed to record first-quarter turnover for the group between October and December.

The group’s solar business forms part of its renewables division, and has been boosted by the arrival of Mike Peacock in the new role of Solar PV manager.

Mike joined from a solar installation and maintenance business based in Liverpool, where he was technical manager.

B-engineering Group’s solar operation is registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, which certifies, quality assures and provides consumer protection for installations and installers in the renewables sector.

It is also accredited under the Home Insulation and Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme.

Managing director Rob Ditchfield said: “Mike is a tremendous addition to our team. He’s a true specialist who really understands the market, with a great track record and lots of knowledge about the sector. In addition to those orders already secured, there is a strong pipeline of future projects.

“Solar PV is a specialism which fits in well with other areas of our business, such as mechanical and electrical work, project management, installation and maintenance.

“As solar panels are much more affordable these days, with a payback of between three and five years and systems which last 25 years, demand is increasing rapidly and we see this as a sector where we can deliver strong and sustainable growth for many years to come and generate new employment opportunities within the group.”

Alongside its solar operation, B-engineering Group designs, installs and maintains heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, electrical and energy systems in commercial premises. It is a specialist in decarbonising commercial properties and estates.

The family business was founded in 1990 by Bernard Ditchfield, who handed over the reins to son Rob in 2011, when the company was turning over £180,000 and had just six staff.

B-engineering Group’s workforce has increased to more than 50 and is poised to grow further as the group looks to expand into Yorkshire, the North East and the East Midlands.

The group employs engineers from Lancashire to Worcestershire, working across sectors ranging from education, healthcare, leisure and hospitality to manufacturing, retailing, construction and nuclear.

Revenues in the 12 months to September 30 were £8.5m and the group expects to achieve £10m of turnover this year.

Mike said: “There are big financial gains to be made for solar PV installations, as they generate savings on electricity bills and unused energy can be sold to the National Grid.

“Lenders are showing a real interest in financing solar panel schemes at competitive rates, so when the loans are paid off the savings are even greater.

“There is an added plus as well as the financial benefits, because solar installations help companies to meet their ESG commitments.

“As well as working with our existing client base, there is huge scope for expansion to new customers.

“As we are providing a full service, including planning, design, project management, installation and maintenance, the sky’s literally the limit for our offering.”

He added: “I’m passionate about renewable energy and have joined B-engineering Group at an exciting time to really add impetus to its activities in the sector.

“The ethos of the company was also a big attraction. It takes ESG seriously, has a genuine commitment to the communities in which it operates, and looks after its staff really well.”