As energy prices go through the roof….solar has got it covered…

By Alistair Booth, MD of Ortus Energy

‘Keep calm and carry on’ is the established British mantra for dealing with difficult issues, but that just won’t cut it for what is fast becoming a full-blown energy crisis.

Wholesale gas prices – those the energy firms themselves pay – are up fourfold in a year and as much of the UK’s electricity is gas-powered, electricity prices are being hit severely too.

Wind farm output has been disappointing as well and too low to make a real difference. This summer gone was the least windy since 1961, with weeks in September accounting for just 9% of the total power generated for England, Scotland and Wales.

The trade body Energy UK has called on the Government to intervene after more than half a dozen energy suppliers have already gone bust, with more to come, yet the Government refuse to bail them out – saying it’s normal to see some firms fall by the wayside like this. Some business experts are predicting if nothing changes about 30 more suppliers may go, leaving under 10 in the marketplace.

This is far from normal and has a knock-on effect for business too. Prices have increased by 12% in the past 6 months and the projections show this is going to continue. Spring 2022 prices are expected to rise between 45% to 50% as the UK faces a “national crisis”.

Little wonder, with some C&I customers now paying up to 22p per unit (from a typical 15ppu just a few months ago) and also the potential threat of the Government telling big customers to stop using gas temporarily.

Is this what we really want to see, a throwback to the 1970s and the likes of a three-day working week, just to be able to save energy? I’m no politician, but we need to start looking at some of these issues the other way round.

British housing stock is traditionally old and heat inefficient, so surely proper insulation is the answer (it can save 30-40% on fuel bills after all) rather than simply paying lots more for energy consumption.

And whilst I applaud the move to electrifying homes and our transport system, the current infrastructure doesn’t make it sustainable and businesses, as well as the taxpayer, will suffer.

The heat is most definitely on, but what warms me is that we can tangibly help. At Ortus Energy we advocate the same inverted approach, with our C&I customers able to access the benefits of Solar PV with no upfront costs.

The system is installed free of charge under Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) – and at a­­­­­­ RPI linked escalation rate rather than the average 5-7% energy inflation rates seen over the last decade, Ortus Energy can offer some of the cheapest PPA rates available. Electricity generated on site is also much cheaper than if purchased from a provider, which not only means a substantial saving on bills, but helps create energy security and brings a welcome reduction in carbon footprint.

Compared with alternative models, such as the outright purchase or lease of a system, PPAs do not require the capital outlay for a new system, and cover the maintenance and insurance – your company only pays for the power you use.

Ortus Energy PPAs offers a solution to C&I customers that can reduce the running costs of businesses (typically 50% or more savings on the energy used by our systems) while substantially improving their environmental profile and ESG commitments – but ultimately the aim is to create a viable ‘energy marketplace’ for Industrial customers.

We’re talking about a behind-the-meter solution that’s independent from the grid and not open to the volatility of mass-market forces and prices.

After the triple disruption of climate change, Covid-19 and Brexit, this should give fresh hope (and energy) to developers, installers plus C&I customers alike.