Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023

18 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23206 Best Renewable Energy Design & Installation MD 2023: Andrew McKee There are many reasons to take a leap of faith and invest in solar power or renewable energy, not least the cost saving benefits, something that is becoming increasingly important as we experience a period of uncertainty and turbulence with the current cost-of-living crisis. However, clean green energy is also hugely beneficial to the environment, helping you to lower your carbon footprint and protect our beautiful planet. Based in Banbridge, Northern Ireland and Dublin, Southern Ireland, as well as with a base in Manchester, Start Solar UK & Ireland is an industry leading solar energy provider covering the whole of the UK and Ireland. Specialising in commercial and residential solar systems, battery storage, electric vehicle charging points, and energy auditing, the firm’s mission is to provide everyone across the UK with the opportunity to install renewable energy by offering all of its clients the most affordable and cutting-edge solutions available. “By tightly managing our own costs we are able to pass the savings on to you – our valued customers,” explains Andrew McKee, the firm’s Founder and Managing Director. As an experienced energy and manufacturing engineer with a degree in Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Management from Ulster University, and having spent a considerable part of his early career within the clean energy industry in Australia, Andrew brought his knowledge and experience back home to Ireland to set-up Start Solar’s operations to the UK and Irish market in 2019. With a history of working with businesses of every size, SMEs to Corporate PLCs, Andrew certainly knows his stuff when it comes to delivering clean energy projects, in particular solar PV, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging points. With more than 10 years’ worth of experience in the industry, Start Solar’s team are all experts in their field, with a wealth of knowledge on everything renewable, everything energy related, and how to develop a bespoke solution, tailored for each and every one of the firm’s loyal clients. “We use only the highest quality components manufactured by Tier 1 manufacturers,” Andrew elaborates. “This ensures that the investment that our clients make in our renewable systems will continue to serve them for at least 25 years.” The in-depth knowledge and attention to detail that the skilled and dedicated team provides helps make the entire process seamless from start to finish. But how does it work exactly? Well, solar panels work on daylight (UV), not direct sunlight, and there is ample daylight hours to generate a healthy amount of electricity in the UK. On average a 4kW system could potentially generate £600* worth of electricity annually (*price is an approximation, based on a unit price of 18p/kW on a 30 degree, south facing roof). The prices of installing solar panels are now more feasible, and Start Solar also offers a finance option if preferred. There are no moving parts involved either, so maintenance and upkeep are kept to a minimum. There are further additional items too, to add to the cost savings while heating and lighting clients’ homes. For example, an Eddi can be used to heat the hot water via an immersion heater, or a battery can be added to store any generated energy not used in the house, rather than selling back to the grid. Priority is always given to the electrical items in the home, if they are not being used, or are less than what the system is producing, then the extra energy (which would normally go back to the grid) would be diverted to the Eddi appliance. These systems are not designed to heat the hot water in the same way as the immersion does; it is designed to work alongside it. Instead, it will give a gradual heat to the water in the tank (depending on the surplus energy the solar panels are producing) and so may need to be boosted by the immersion heater, which can be turned on as normal, only with the Eddi installed, it can be done via its interface instead. There’s no doubt about it, solar energy is the way of the future and Start Solar UK & Ireland (Start Solar) is dedicated to helping its clients get started on their energy saving journey. We profile the firm, and speak to Andrew McKee, as he gains recognition in this year’s Managing Director of the Year Awards.