Ploughcraft Solar, run by Chris Hopkins, managed to secure £120,000 from Dragon’s Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis in exchange for a 25% in the business. “Apart from their excellent reputation in the world of business, Deborah and Theo are trusted household names,” said Chris.
All but one Dragon made an offer to Chris – Peter Jones was not sure that homeowners would invest the large amount of cash needed to install the panels even if they were attracted by the financial rewards of the Feed In Tariff.
The appearance of solar panels on the Dragon’s Den programme has brought solar energy into the spotlight and given a major boost to the solar industry. However, one of the Dragon’s was already well versed in the benefits of solar panels having already invested in a solar panels for her own home and bought into a solar panels company when she realised it was a growing market.
Deborah Meaden said, “I had already identified the renewable energy market as an exciting place to do business, not least because it combines doing the right thing with great returns. Chris clearly demonstrated that he was deeply knowledgeable and an industry leader, not just ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. He was also obviously someone who gets stuff done and cares about his customers…seemed like the perfect fit and so I went for it!”
“If you’ve got money sitting in the bank earning tuppence, take it out of the bank, put 16 panels on your roof and you will earn 10% tax free. It’s as simple as that,”
The Dragon’s Den episode follows hot on the heels of yet another television appearance by solar panels, this time in the Channel 4 show The Secret Millionaire. Businessman Paul Williams and entrepreneur Ben Way joined forces to create a fund which offers grants to those who want to install solar systems. Since the programme aired, numerous investors have come forward to inject money into the fund.
Paul said: “It will be especially attractive to those who are interested in reducing their carbon footprint but concerned about the cost of doing so. We hope that this deal will allow them to see that solar is a genuinely viable alternative to traditional energy sources.”
A spokesperson for solar energy company Solar Panels Direct, said: “It was only a matter of time before solar energy made it to mainstream TV, and Deborah Meaden’s comments have been a welcome confirmation of what we in the solar industry have known for years – solar PV systems are a good investment.
“I suspect we see a lot more positive programming about solar panels on the television in the months to come.”
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