Norwich installers collapse costing at least 65 jobs

Two Norwich-based installers have filed for insolvency, costing at least 65 jobs in the industry.

Absolute Renewable Energy (UK) and Ecojuice appointed liquidators last month, the former citing debts of around £800,000 to various creditors.

Begbies Traynors has been appointed as the insolvency practitioners for Absolute, and Leading Business Services has been appointed for Ecojuice.

Absolute’s collapse will see the 25 employees and 40 self-employed contractors lose their jobs, adding to the more than 2,000 solar industry workers made redundant as a result of the government’s reset of renewable energy subsidies.

Mark Group remains the most notable installation business to have collapsed to date. Its administration, which swiftly followed former parent company SunEdison selling the business amidst a withdrawal from the UK market, caused around 1,000 staff to lose their jobs.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s feed-in tariff impact assessment estimated that as many as 18,600 jobs could be lost as a result of the cuts, however energy minister Andrea Leadsom has defended the government’s stance on the issue and stressed that it expects the solar industry to “continue to thrive”.

Both Absolute and EcoJuice’s statement of affairs have been published on Companies House earlier this month and provide detailed assessments of the respective businesses’ creditors in the wake of their collapse.

Whilst EcoJuice has filed for liquidation with around £43,000 of debt, the majority of which is owed to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, Absolute owed more than £787,000 to a list of trade creditors which includes various roofing and scaffolding firms as well as suppliers.

Established suppliers such as Edmundson Electrical, Altenergy and Solfex are owed tens of thousands of pounds, however the largest creditor on Absolute’s books is roofing firm Avonside Group Services. Avonside is also listed as a major shareholder in the firm, and three of its directors have also held directorships in Absolute.

Also included in Absolute’s statement of affairs is a summary of assets, which includes a list of uncharged assets it can raise capital from to settle creditor claims. The company claims to have £365,000 in stock – assumed to be solar PV components – however the company expects this to only raise £12,500 in proceeds, just over 3% of its apparent value.

Solar Power Portal understands that a more typical writedown of stock would be 70% at the most, and that typical prices for solar components at auction would be around the £0.30/Wp mark.

Both Begbies Traynors and Avonside Group Services could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.