11:18am Monday 21st January 2013
By Julie Hayes
A SMALL renewables business launched in North Yorkshire just over a year ago has exceeded its first year turnover forecast eight-fold.
WindCare was founded by Alex Thornton, Duncan Bulmer and Mark Wilson following the demise of another renewable energy company in the area. Alex, an employee of the company, was made redundant and Duncan and Mark, skilled engineers, who were subcontracted to work for the business lost a lot of their work.
So the trio decided to form their own business and retain the technical skills in the area. They initially employed three more engineers affected by the collapse and have now grown to a total team of ten civil, mechanical and electrical engineers.
Alex said they set themselves a conservative target of achieving sales of £50,000 in the first year, but by the end of the year, the figure was in excess of £400,000.
The company, which operates from a 12,000 sq ft workshop and modest offices behind a working farm near Pickering, provides back-up to big wind turbine manufacturers and is expecting to double its current workforce of ten in its second year.
Alex said: “The first year has been frantic although very exciting. Small and medium wind is still in its infancy, but we saw how fast the sector was growing – especially for single farm-based turbines because of the Government incentives on offer.
“We recognised there was a market for an independent service provider specialising in feed-in-tariff scale turbines offering technical support and backup to turbine manufacturers, distributors as well as the end customer.”
He said the business was launched at the right time as most of the large companies have already found partners to work with and now WindCare is partner to five of the leading UK wind turbine distributors in the market.
“Our big break came when one of the major UK wind turbine distributors was looking to increase its coverage and level of service to its customers without incurring the costs of employing another team of engineers. We put a call in and got our first job.”
“Since then, we’ve installed more than 50 turbines for various distributors and have found ourselves working as far south as Plymouth and Inverness in the north.
“Some of our customers use us exclusively as their own technical team while others use our expertise as and when required.”
Alex said they hoped to increase turnover by 50 per cent per year.
“We are in an economy which is stagnant, although there are areas of growth and we seem to have found one,” he said.
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