New Green Deal owners reach out to UK installers

The new owners of the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) will seek to rebuild the installer base that grew around the original scheme by recruiting from the tens of thousands of UK companies working in the home energy efficiency products sector.

According to Greenstone Finance, which bought the previously government backed business alongside Aurium Capital Markets, has said the new pay-as-you-save loans will be sold through the existing network of Green Deal Providers and installers.

According to the government’s most recent figures for the Green Deal supply chain as it stood in November 2016, there were 1,392 installer organisations signed up to the original scheme. This is down from the peak of 2,774 in August 2014 when optimism regarding the scheme was at its highest.

In a statement released to Solar Power Portal, a spokeswoman for Greenstone said: “We aim to recruit more of the over 32,000 UK companies operating in the home energy efficiency products sector to ensure that customers can easily connect with a Green Deal Provider in their area.”

The GDFC, which had its funding pulled by government in July 2015, has already begun servicing existing loan plans and will begin originating new loans “as soon as operationally possible”.

Among the key failings of the government scheme were the high interest rates assigned to the finance, however the new owners of the GDFC would not be drawn on if this would change. However, the spokeswoman was clear that the new scheme would address another key issue that hampered the domestic energy efficiency framework by improving how it was taken to consumers.

“Based on the learnings from the past four years, we will focus on three areas in order to make this a success across the nation, namely through improving awareness by investing in better marketing and educating of consumers; improving access to the scheme (including creating a new and improved website); and by investing in training and recruitment of our installers and customer services team to better educate and help customers,” she said.

Previously, Green Deal installers were required to be certified as meeting the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2030 for the measures installed under the scheme, as well as complying with the conditions of the Green Deal Code of Practice.

PAS2030 will continue to be a requirement, however Greenstone and Aurium will be implementing “more stringent requirements” to ensure quality of delivery. Installers will be vetted and required to go through regular training to meet standards set by the owners, who will also monitor supply side participants on an on-going basis.

The restart of the Green Deal finance offer has come at a time when the home energy efficiency market is preparing for an upsurge in demand as new regulations come into force in April 2018. The minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) will require all landlords to ensure their properties meet at least an EPC rating of E before they can be leased.

The cost of installing new measures was intended to be met in part by Green Deal finance, however this was put in question after the scheme closed.

In addition to this upcoming market growth, Nimesh Kamath of Aurium hinted that the framework could be opened up to commercial properties, while Greenstone added that it will seek to grow the offer to take a significant market share in the home energy efficiency sector.

“We will continue to focus on products that improve a home’s energy efficiency, such as boilers, solar panels and insulation. Over time, our aim is to expand the range of products our financing covers so that we become the go-to provider of energy efficiency improvements for homes,” the spokeswoman said.