Monday, March 26, 2012

Dragons Den test: Ploughcroft

Chris and Deborah
26 March 2012: [See PS down below]: I have often wondered if there was a 'business idea' in this Solar Earth Charging lark. One way of testing this idea is to imagine myself in front of the dragons of BBC's Dragons Den, and how I would explain it to them, and how I would present the financial figures.
    I know the argument would not pass their gaze at this time - my market share could only be for ground source heat pump users with boreholes, and with the willingness to improve the performance. This is too small a prospect for any of the dragons to be interested in. Look several decades ahead, and there will be a lot in it, in fact, the combination of Solar Charging with Ground Source is what may help to enlarge this sector. This is the argument that will be of interest to Kingspan if the experiment with tubes works.

One renewable activist, Chris Hopkins, had the courage to go onto Dragons Den and face the grilling, and he actually picked up two business partners, Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis. His newly formed company, Ploughcroft, has what seems like the widest possible portfolio of renewables, including Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, Heat pumps, Wind Turbines, Home Insulation and Maintenance of renewables. I am quite pleased that the first image on the heat pumps is of a ground source, not an air source. I notice that he doesn't offer Biomass, but there are probably good reasons for this.
  The company with the backing of two such well known TV personalities is bound to do better than others in these difficult times of regression of the FIT.
PS, October 2012: Ploughcroft has gone into administration, laid off its staff, and formed a new, smaller company. This is mostly caused by the same problem that all solar companies have, which is the rapid demolition of the FIT system by the Tory government, leaving many businesses with insufficient customers to make it possible to maintain the full range of staff and facilities. Sad.

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