By Ben Woods, Energy writer
Thursday, December 20, 2012
A Norfolk-based renewable energy company has sought more “sustainable” work in South Africa amid claims that the UK renewable energy market is unreliable.
A Norfolk aerospace firm is planning to make inroads into the African market after recruiting a new sales team to bolster its presence in the country.
Swaffham-based STG Aerospace has recruited four sales representatives into its network of agents, which already has a presence in Australia and the Middle East.
James Jilani, managing director of FF Plus Newday, will oversee sales in west and central Africa; Tony Moss, who has been a director of MTC Aero for 12 years, will oversee south and east Africa; Ali Saidane, who has contacts in Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, will oversee sales in North Africa, and Osman Handoussa, in Egypt, will head up a team of three at Eagle Aviation responsible for sales.
Richard Moore, chief executive at STG Aerospace, is hopeful that the new additions to the company will enable them to expand across the continent.
STG Aerospace was established in 1995 to provide solutions for safety critical applications in commercial and military aircraft.
RenEnergy has secured contracts to install solar panels at the Khumani Iron Ore Mine in the Northern Cape and the Wine Farms in the Southern Cape by June.
The move follows a tough year for the company, which is forecasting a turnover drop from £12m to £5m next year.
Damian Baker, managing director of RenEnergy, has partly blamed the company’s performance on the government’s uncertainty over renewable energy tariffs which, he claims, has put people off buying and caused an 80pc drop in sales.
But he believes work in South Africa can bring growth opportunities to the firm and help safeguard Norfolk jobs amid a more sustainable market.
He said: “International diversification is key for our long term stability and developing a robust UK business in the renewables sector. 2012 has been a year of ups and downs. In the early part of the year we had huge demand for our products and then changing and confusing government policy on both feed-in-tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive has meant an 80pc drop in sales across the industry. This has hit businesses in our sector hard.
“We’ve always been an innovator in our field and so we have adapted fast to the changes in the UK. We’ve restructured the business and looked at where the opportunities lie. The work in South Africa has safeguarded jobs in Norfolk and will lead to new recruits in the New Year. This does not mean that the UK market has ceased, far from it. Energy costs are rising and investing in clean technologies such as photovoltaic panels or biomass and remains a good decision regardless of government policy.”
RenEnergy is based at its headquarters in Blofield and provides renewable energy products including solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and renewable heat systems such as biomass boilers.
Question marks surround the fate of several development projects in and around King’s Lynn after the developers behind the project went into administration.