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Riding the ‘Solar Coaster’: Reflecting on and Celebrating our 10th Year in Business

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The Little Green Energy Company

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Riding the ‘Solar Coaster’

Celebrating our 10th year in business 

TLGEC is celebrating its 10th year in business and although it’s not quite the way we envisaged celebrating under the circumstances it’s certainly seen us reflect, as well as look towards the next 10 years. 

Every industry has its ups and downs and the solar business has its own phrase, the ‘Solar Coaster’, to describe the challenges and highs in the industry. We’ve seen many businesses come and go as a result, often victims to the fluctuating FIT rates driving the market. To find out how The Little Green Energy Company has ridden the ‘Solar Coaster’ over the years, how has solar technology changed and developed and TLGEC’s vision to be the South East’s brand for renewable solutions , we thought who best to tell us, then our very own Managing Director, Simon Dudson! Over to Simon;

 Where did the idea for starting a business called TLGEC come from? 

Having worked in the solar business for a few years we saw a gap in the market for a good technical company that could offer full design, consultancy and installation service.  Solar PV was an emerging technology moving into the mainstream with the help from the government’s feed-in-tariff.” 

Had you started a business before and have there been any bumps in the road? 

I previously had a small electrical contracting business.  I remember being told at the beginning that the industry was too niche, and we would not survive doing Solar PV alone.  It was a risk, but determination and hard work has got us to where we are now.   

It hasn’t been an easy industry but we’ve weathered each challenge, which I feel has made us stronger and now able to tackle anything.  The Covid 19 crisis now another test for businesses. 

What was the vision for TLGEC 10 years ago? 

“We started out, operating from a spare room at home, originally looking to book a couple of installs a month to provide a living.  I can honestly say we never expected to be where we are now!  It has been a steep learning curve.  

From the beginning I set out with an ethos to always treat every customer or business how we would treat ourselves. This meant providing the best solution on the market at a fair price. I believe this strong ethos has held us steady and supported our business since inception.” 

What is the vision for the next 10 years? 

With what we have learned and overcome in the past 10 years and with year on year growth we have high hopes for the future.  Covid 19 has tried to derail many companies, but I feel this will make us stronger. We’ve already learnt so much about our business as result and made improvements that perhaps we may not have noticed under ordinary circumstances.   

Climate change is firmly on the agenda and I believe we are in a prime position to help people work towards a greener future.  We plan to continue to grow and are aiming to be the name businesses and homeowners turn to in the South East when they need help transitioning into renewables, but keeping the values of high customer service and approachable feel. 

We’re committed to: Empowering homes and businesses to build a sustainable world for future generations.” 

Are there particular people/businesses that you’d like to thank in supporting you to get where you are today? 

Firstly, an old friend, Michael Folb.  Back in 2007 when doing some electrical work for Michael he introduced the concept of Solar PV to me as a business, even taking me on a trip to China to see what they were doing there and to meet suppliers.  My first install (not as TLGEC) was done back then on a block of flats in Maidstone that Michael was developing. It all started after that moment!

I would also like to mention Will Wood, my accountant.  More than just a number cruncher he has helped guide me in more business matters for the past 10 years. 

And we wouldn’t be where we are without out TLGEC staffBusiness is a team effort and as we have grown, we have overcome many challenges together which has furthered our continued growth. 

How has solar technology changed and developed over the last 10 years? 

We started out offering Solar PV only solutions. Today, to live up to our commitment of Empowering homes and businesses to build a sustainable world for future generations, we have added battery storage and EV charging to our offering. Battery storage and EV charging is developing at a fast rate and is an exciting area. 

Solar PV hasn’t changed too much over the years. The principles are still the same, however panels have become more efficient giving you more output per m2. There is also a better choice of manufacturers offering higher quality products. Inverters have got smarter, making systems more efficient and giving customers more real time information. 

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