Scottish tech firm awarded funding to improve SME energy efficiency

October 25, 2019 by John Hatcher
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Scottish tech firm awarded funding to improve SME energy efficiency

arbnco says it will be working with Energy Systems Catapult to build a digital platform to help make the UK’s 5.7m SMEs more energy efficient

The company will be developing a Digital Energy Efficiency Platform (DEEP) to improve energy efficiency across the 5.7m SMEs across the UK.
 
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 99% of businesses in the UK and are responsible for over 50% of energy use. DEEP is aiming to eliminate the common barriers SMEs face in tackling energy efficiency, such as high upfront and transactional costs, economies of scale and difficulties accessing finance.
 
The aim of the Government’s BASEE competition is to accelerate the growth of the energy services market for SMEs by driving down transaction costs and promoting third party investment in small-scale energy efficiency projects. BASEE is making available £6m of funding for innovative, scalable business models or solutions that facilitate investment for small energy efficiency retrofit/refurbishment projects in commercial and industrial buildings in the UK.
 
arbnco’s digital platform, DEEP, will generate a bespoke list of energy efficiency measures for SMEs, including costs and finance options, and a business case for implementing energy efficiency.  
 
The platform will also allow potential aggregators to build portfolios of energy efficiency improvement measures across local regions, sectors or improvement types. It is envisioned that projects could be grouped together to achieve economies of scale and favourable financial terms for SMEs. arbnco will work with manufacturers and specialist financial firms to develop strategies for aggregating energy efficiency projects.
 
Andrew Stewart, research and development manager at arbnco outlined how the project could open up access to energy efficiency projects. He said: “SMEs account for over half of the UK’s energy use, but when it comes to energy efficiency projects they are often hampered by a lack of expertise or capital. Finance remains a key stumbling block. Small businesses may have a fear of getting into debt and banks also have a reluctance to lend on small projects.
 
“DEEP aims to increase accessibility and help SMEs identify the quick wins that could reduce energy bills and increase carbon savings. We want DEEP to be a one-stop shop for businesses to identify and prioritise energy efficiency projects, and find the appropriate finance and best supplier for the chosen retrofit project. ”

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