Colin Le Gresley – Owner
Colin Le Gresley is the owner of Aztec Label, a business that produces self-adhesive labels and tag products of varying descriptions, from food labelling and packaging to courier systems and medical labels – a complete spectrum. Operating in one of the only growing sectors within the print market, Aztec Label has been trading for 26 years and now has an annual turnover of £3m, with continued growth over the last 5 years.
Colin’s original motivation for installing solar PV at Aztec Label was driven by corporate responsibility, along with the marketing advantages of promoting green technology within his industry. Aztec Label don’t employ sales people, all their business comes from word of mouth and the good reputation that they have developed over the years – in Colin’s opinion, being able to promote sustainability through solar energy contributes positively towards that reputation and differentiates his business from the competition.
Colin knew that it was going to be a big, long term commitment to install solar PV, but felt that whatever happened, it just HAD to be the right long term thing to do. The financial grants (at 45%) that Aztec Label were able to obtain certainly helped to justify the cost, but they were more interested in demonstrating to the market that they are a sustainable business. To Colin, it wasn’t about the cost of install, as the bold company statement and longer term benefits would far outweigh the initial outlay.
Solar PV is generating 30% more power than the business uses
Aztec Label have installed the largest solar PV system they could fit on their building. At 98Kw, it has 360 panels. The system has been fully operational for just over 3 mo
nths and has generated 43Mw so far, a huge amount and 30% more power than the business is using. They are not currently exporting unused energy back to the grid, but have recently changed to a new green energy supplier, which has also contributed to their huge drop in energy bills, which are now comfortably at around 30% of their previous level, that’s a massive 70% saving.
A solid long term investment
Payback on the PV panels was always quoted at 4-5 years, based on the 45% grant received. This is proving to be true with current performance levels. So, with capital investment being paid back in 4-5 years, a reduction in ongoing power bills which becomes pure profit after the initial payback period, and a lifetime of at least 20 years for the panels and could be double that, Aztec Label are already looking at an excellent economic investment before they even start to consider the commercial impact of the sustainability message – as a marketing tool, the additional business generated could be huge.
Colin’s next renewable energy plan is to set up a battery system that can store and utilise all the energy generated from the solar PV system. But it’s not just about the saving, it’s equally about being self-reliant and independent. There are longer term questions about the availability of power in this country and they want to eliminate that issue from their thinking and ensure continued supply from their own systems, particularly as they grow and add more machinery to their operation.
Power saving initiatives
They’ve already installed LED bulbs on the main task lighting in the factory, and are now installing LEDs every time something needs changing. Also, looking to the future of electric transportation, Colin is convinced that his next car will be at least a hybrid vehicle, and he’s already approached Caplor for 2 electric vehicle charging points so that staff and visitors can charge their vehicles on-site as electric cars become more commonplace on our roads.
“I see this investment as a virtual ‘salesperson’, which is more cost effective and guaranteed to provide a long term return. If you use power, it just has to be a benefit – it will help control the way you take power from the grid and produce more.”
Colin says, “After speaking with several renewable energy suppliers, Caplor were honest and straight forward in their approach – they didn’t beat around the bush and told it ‘as it was’. I felt I could trust Gareth and the Caplor team and the experience has fulfilled my expectations. The installation team were very good and really demonstrated their knowledge of the system to help educate me. They are professional, good to deal with and if I had any issues I would be confident they would respond very quickly. I like dealing with a responsible company who back up what they say, they don’t just sell and move on – Caplor are experienced in this industry and also have their own renewable energy installations, so they genuinely know what they are doing.
I wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending Caplor – I see my relationship with Caplor continuing for many years to come, and would trust them to do a good job for others.”
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