Powering precision: Midlands manufacturer amps up efficiency with £70k solar investment

Posted on 3 Aug 2023 by James Devonshire

A West Midlands manufacturer is becoming more energy self-sufficient and reducing its emissions with the installation of 162 solar panels, supported by a £58,000 investment from Lloyds Bank.

The solar panels have been funded via Lloyds Bank’s Clean Growth Financing Initiative, which provides customers with access to discounted lending for green purposes, in addition to a £12,000 investment from the business.

Headquartered in Bilston, Wolverhampton, Parker Precision provides precision engineering services to aviation, defence and petrochemical businesses.

In 2021, Lloyds Bank supported Parker Precision to purchase the assets of the precision grinding department of aviation and aerospace component manufacturer, Kepston. It also helped fund the construction of an extension to the business’ existing site to accommodate the acquired division and its staff. The new solar panels will help the manufacturer alleviate the additional energy demand of the expansion.

The 66.15 kWh system has been fitted to the south facing roof of Parker Precision’s building, to maximise electricity generation. The panels provide around a third of the site’s energy requirement and have reduced its monthly electricity bills by £4,000. The business also plans to sell the surplus energy generated during sunny periods back to the grid, to supplement its bills further.

The energy generated by the solar panels has enabled Parker Precision to introduce a reduced evening shift, which is entirely powered by the solar energy. This time is designated to the running of any jobs that are of urgent customer need, increasing throughput without increasing operational costs. The panels are also used to charge its electric company car via a recently installed charge point.

The £3.5m turnover business currently employs 38 staff. It plans to utilise the cost savings to invest back into the business, including to upskill its existing staff and take on new apprentices. Parker Precision hopes the investment will help it achieve a 20% growth in turnover this year.

Marc Corns, owner and managing director of Parker Precision, said: “Rising costs have put pressure on manufacturers. Last year, we integrated our asset purchase of Kepston Grinding and its employees into our business, and with expansion comes greater energy requirements. We were concerned we would see a significant increase to our bills when the energy bill relief tapered earlier this year, but the solar panels have entirely negated this, helping protect profits.

“In addition, we’ve also invested in a new compressor system. As all our machinery runs on compressed air, the new, more energy efficient system has helped further reduce our bills creating more savings. The support from Lloyds Bank has been invaluable in helping us manage our cashflow, while also reducing our carbon footprint.”

Ian Littleford, associate director, Asset Finance for SME and Mid Markets at Lloyds Bank, and Claire Carr, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, supported the business through the solar panel installation, working to facilitate the investment.

Claire Carr said: “We have worked with Parker Precision since 1960, and in that time, we’ve supported them with a variety of its financial needs, including the acquisition of Kepston. We will continue to be by their side as they work to not only manage the challenges presented by the current economic climate, but also to help them turn it into an opportunity for sustainable growth.

“Lloyds Bank is committed to supporting business to build a pipeline of future talent and helping to tackle the skills challenge in the manufacturing sector. Parker Precision has a long history of employing local people, as well as providing opportunities for young people to begin their career. The cost savings will enable them to further support the development of their team and hire new apprentices.”

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