Risk : Renewable Energy Part 2

Adam Beckett



Print this page

Add Favorites

An exercise in risk vs. reward for renewable energy in caravan parks

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
– Steve Jobs

Change happens sometimes too slowly and I’ve got an admission to make .
As an energy consultant I’m ashamed that haven’t yet adopted renewable energy. At least at home ; I haven’t taken a moment to switch to 100% green energy for my domestic supply until today. ( OVO here I come ) .

However I’m not here to moralise over which energy supplier you choose . 

We’re considering a much bigger, potentially risky, wider decision for you – the reality of renewable energy for your holiday parks. 

You’ll get to read an accurate case study on Solar panels in a holiday park to illustrate the barebones cost vs. profit , touching on the intangibles such as marketing value ( or not ) for your holiday park, with real life stories drawn from my daily conversations with uk park owners.
My story 
Around three years ago I decided that renewable energy was the future, even though introducing it would cost me money. I earn my income from annual volume on energy supply contracts; smaller usage means smaller returns for myself.
I still have no idea whether I’ll win or lose from renewable energy. Ultimately it just feels like the right thing to do.

I could see that renewable energy demand would rocket ( in my opinion ) so I started tracking down reputable installers to partner with and also scoured everywhere for case studies, which at the time were few and far between.

Finally, one incredibly useful report was written for me by the very helpful and enthusiastic Rob Williams of Trawsdir Touring & Camping Park in Barmouth.

Here’s how the financials stack for the Trawsdir Solar experiment (a small excerpt from the full report) 

” In terms of costs, the system was roughly £66,000.
Before installing the system in late October 2011, we were paying £1857 per month to Scottish Power. We reviewed these figures with Scottish Power in August and agreed on a figure of £1005. So the immediate saving was £852 per month.Our actual annual cost now is £4203 ”

Solar panelIf you want to read the full report, I’ll email it to you free.

Before we get too enthusiastic, I recently visited the NEC Caravan & Camping Show to chat with the majority of park stand holders there. One gentleman was good enough to politely tell me that both Solar and Biomass boilers wouldn’t work at his holiday park ; apparently a lack of sufficient south facing roof space for solar and nothing substantial to fuel the burning of biomass . Fair enough .

Overall though. I found the attitude towards green energy extremely positive – with most parks already using solar and even more either possessing, seriously considering  or in process of installing a biomass boiler .


There are fairly obvious financial drivers here :
•    cautious upturn in the economy
•    access to finance ( Carbon Trust / Siemens & RHI )
•    lower cost of renewable energy equipment
•    increased consensus on climate change ( IPCC )
•    consumers demanding improved experience

We’ll have a light diversion at this point ( if you just want more financials skip past this )

If we’re looking at trends directly relating to renewable energy, here’s a snapshot of global monthly search interest in order of popularity ranking ( Google Trends uses a sliding scale of 0 – 100 )

search term            popularity
solar panels              44
renewable energy      29
biomass                    23

So, despite the shake up with the uk government feed in tariff payout ‘adjustment’ a few years ago, there’s still a very healthy interest in Solar panels for example. And the renewable heat incentive is driving technologies such as Biomass into caravan parks

The bottom line

I do not want to appear biased, however when I speak with one of my holiday parks customers and mention solar or biomass, there is overwhelming interest . Renewable energy really isn’t perceived as a risky business right now.

Profit opportunities

Here’s the process . Solar and Biomass renewable energy installations could allow caravan park and holiday park owners to
1. cut their existing energy bills  2. get long term index linked FIT payments  3. attract more customers

All this can be financed by Siemens or an alternative provider and money in will very possibly match or exceed finance cost month on month until the finance is paid off, after which any FIT payments are pure profit. Capital allowances on the purchase cost also offset initial expense.

Of course no one is promising you the Earth, your site needs to be assessed first to determine true potential.

What I’ve found is that holiday park owners just want a decent installer charging a fair price . They just don’t know where to go .


If you missed my very first article for Holiday Parks Management here’s another excerpt, this time from a statement given by Ged Ennis of The Low Carbon Energy Company :

” Our customers are experiencing returns in excess of 20% and this aligned to reduced costs and carbon and the opportunity to market themselves as “ green “ is a very powerful driver for take up .
In addition, and through our partnership with the Carbon Trust, we offer unsecured off balance sheet finance for systems and in most cases the benefits exceed the repayments so no cash leaves the business ”

So wherever you go for renewable energy advice , thank you for reading this brief glimpse into risk vs. reward for renewable energy at your holiday park .

Your time is at a premium as you barrel headlong into the Summer season. Now here’s the flipside : it takes very little time to find out what you could be missing out on next Summer .

There is more on energy efficiency and generation to come – the important thing is to take action and explore your options now.

Please see more about Adam Beckett – Energy Consultant Here 


September 9, 2014


Be the first to review this listing

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.