Renewable Energy Favoured by Small Businesses

14 June 2013

Half of all small businesses and enterprises considering the Green Deal would use the funding to invest in self-generation, a recent report has revealed.

The npower Business Energy Index (nBEI) 2013 found that 50% of SMEs planning to utilise the Green Deal – the Government’s flagship energy efficiency initiative – would invest in microgeneration measures, such as solar PV panels.

The findings will make interesting reading for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as it continues to look at ways to promote both the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).


The nBEI 2013 report was funded by energy supplier npower with surveys completed by independent market research group, Opinion Matters.

The report focused on SMEs across a wide range of industries, focusing on four categories: energy management; external advice and energy purchasing habits; legislation and carbon reduction; and business and energy risk.

The legislation and carbon reduction section of the report paid close attention to the Green Deal and the business perception of it. 58% of those question believed that the Government initiative offered access to finance for energy efficiency measures, which will be good news for Greg Barker and the DECC.

31% of the SMEs questioned had heard of and understood the scheme.

50% of these planned to install solar PV or another self-generation energy measure, while 35% planned on investing in new energy-saving equipment. A further 15% said they would use it to fit insulation.

Under the Green Deal, the likes of Cavity Wall Insulation and Solid Wall Insulation are available to small businesses as well as households, alongside solar PV, air source heat pumps, biomass boilers, and other modern energy devices.

Increasing Demand

Learning how businesses plan to use funding makes for interesting reading, but the Government will feel there’s still much to do.

37% of those questions disclosed that they had heard of the Green Deal but were uncertain of how it worked or what it was about. A further 32% had never heard of it.

With 48% of SMEs stating that energy accounts for 25-50% of their total business costs, the Government will hope to create increased awareness of the scheme, and the financial benefits of Cavity Wall Insulation, Solid Wall Insulation, solar PV, and each of the other measures available through it.

"Government and industry are making progress, but there is still much to do," Simon Stacey, managing director of energy services at npower, told The Guardian.

"A fundamental question remains on how demand for the Green Deal – as well as the ECO – is created among consumers. It's important that local authorities, the insulation industry and other key stakeholders are incentivised to work with energy suppliers to ensure customers can access the benefits of improved energy efficiency."

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