Joju Solar is “very confident” it will make it through the lockdown period despite furloughing staff as it takes a cautious approach to opening up.
Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Joju’s technical director Chris Jardine said that the priority for the company is ensuring its staff have “got some money coming in and are secure in their lives while all this blows over”.
As a result, some of the installer’s staff have been furloughed, as is true for many workers across a large numbers of sectors in the UK and worldwide. The entirety of the delivery side of Joju’s business has been furloughed, which Jardine said was “ethically the right thing for us to be doing”, with the company “setting ourselves up to last as long as possible”.
However, Joju’s sales team is still working to develop new projects and get them “shovel ready” for when the company can start operating fully again.
“We’re being particularly cautious about the way in which we open up,” Jardine added, stating that the company is “very confident” about making it through in the long term.
“We’re coming off the back of a successful year and a half/two years so our business position is fairly strong at the moment. We think we can survive a very long time and that’s the scenario we’re planning for.
“I’m imagining what other companies’ positions might be like and clearly if you haven’t got the cash reserves and you haven’t got income coming in but you’ve still got staff and offices and insurance to pay for, then you can imagine you’ll eat through your cash reserves fairly quickly. We feel lucky that we’re not in that position.”
Joju has identified several developments that will need to occur before opening up for business again following the most recent government guidelines on returning to work for those in construction and other sectors that cannot work from home. This includes the ability for its install teams to work safely and within coronavirus guidelines, with plans to adjust its method statements to ensure suitable ways of working.
The sites themselves will also need to be open, which will take “careful management from clients and main contractors” with excellent communication and planning “crucial” to this.
The full supply chain will also need to be in place, with manufacturers of every single component, wholesalers and deliveries all fully functional.
Jardine confirmed that Joju is engaging with its internal staff and sub-contractors to ensure that they are also comfortable to return to site work.
Before the lockdown came into place, the company had done a lot of work on community energy projects in the run up to the end of the community feed-in tariff at the end of March. This deadline has since been extended due to COVID-19, which has provided a lifeline for some projects Joju was working on that were not completed before lockdown.
The company is hopeful it will be able to install the work that was planned and “finish the programme off”.