Home News Mike Gadd discusses how CEF is revving up its renewables focus

Mike Gadd discusses how CEF is revving up its renewables focus

Mike Gadd, Renewables Divisions Director at CEF, discusses how CEF is revving up its renewables focus.

At the start of 2023, we launched a brand new CEF Renewables division, recognising the changing needs of our industry and customers. Our industry moves at an incredible pace and we want to lead the charge for a more sustainable future and help our customers and colleagues understand the challenge and the opportunity that the renewables sector offers.

As well as introducing a wide and diverse range of renewable energy products, we’re focusing on empowering our trade professionals and colleagues with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the increasing demand for sustainable solutions for customers.

To do this, we have collaborated with renowned training providers, including IET, GTEC, Universal Skills Group, NICIEC and NAPIT, to deliver comprehensive Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) training courses. We also have over 40 training rooms that we have used, and continue to use, to upskill dozens of installers each month, ensuring high standards across the industry.

Renewables champions

Amongst our team of 18 renewables experts, we have the Technical and Training Lead, Tom Binns. Tom is an industry veteran with 11 years of experience in solar, battery and EV installations and leads our internal training programme. This programme is being rolled out to all 1,500 CEF branch colleagues and we are also appointing renewables champions in each branch.

Our Internal Sales and Technical Teams provide first-line support for all our renewables customers. Through partnerships with suppliers, we have created centralised document portals to enable our team to handle customers’ technical inquiries.

We have also partnered with industry-leading software provider OpenSolar to offer training to installers in using this design software to plan and execute projects more efficiently. We also work closely with our supply chain, such as K2 Mounting Systems, who have their own software for the proper calculation and planning of installations. We ensure our customers know the importance of utilising these tools for a safer, more efficient, and more compliant installation.

We have sourced new warehousing and we have invested £20 million in stock so far to offer:

  • The largest choice of EV chargers stocked and supplied by any distributor (over 25 brands)
  • Central stock of five Tier 1 solar panel brands
  • Four mounting system suppliers (in-roof and on-roof)
  • Six battery storage and inverter manufacturers

Wind turbines, air source and ground source heat pumps, thermal storage, heating cylinders, and solar-powered storage heaters

This centrally held stock can be delivered directly to an installer’s job site within two days or to any CEF branch for collection or local delivery, enabling our customers to meet project deadlines efficiently and easily.

Over 81% of CEF branches now regularly supply solar, batteries and inverters and 98% of branches stock a wider range of renewable products. We can also allocate and hold stock for up to six months to ensure supply for pre-orders. We also offer finance options for B2B National Accounts customers.

On the road

We’re also bringing our Renewables team on the road with the latest series of TechTalks. Our latest series launched in September 2023, and we will be visiting a whopping 24 locations across the UK. The free events are exclusive to our trade professionals, and we’ll be spotlighting all the latest news and regulations through our informative technical seminars.

With the introduction of our Renewables showcase to the event itinerary, we’ll help to equip our guests with the insights and tools they need to future-proof their work and they’ll get CPD certificates for coming along.

At the end of each TechTalk, someone from our Renewables team will host a Q&A, each designed to help guests looking to expand their knowledge, and businesses, into the renewables market. Guests can also request 1-1 consultations to address their specific needs and questions.

By expanding our product range, providing exceptional customer support, and delivering comprehensive training initiatives, in just eight months, we have made significant contributions to support the renewables movement in the UK.

CEF Renewables does not plan to slow down anytime soon, with a packed calendar for the remaining months of 2023, and into the first half of 2024. We have a stand at Solar & Storage Live in October and the team will be there in force to support contractors and consumers with knowledge, consultancy and tips on how renewables can support their homes or businesses and how CEF are best placed to support.

Connecting customers

As with any business it is imperative to make continual improvements to our service model, and here at CEF Renewables we take great pride in doing so. We have recently reviewed all carriage rates with our carrier partners, which means we can now deliver to all corners of the UK at more affordable rates than ever before. This is enabling our CEF branches to connect more customers with Net Zero technologies, helping the UK meet its climate change obligations. We’ve also reviewed our pricing and through improved commercial processes we are able to offer reduced solar panel, inverter and battery storage pricing across the board. All of which can be seen via cef.co.uk.

Finally, what to expect next as an existing, or prospective customer to CEF Renewables? In the coming months, we will be introducing next-day delivery services to a large swathe of mainland UK postcodes, as well as a premium timed service for pre-10 and pre-12 drops. And in the New Year CEF will be bolstering its commitment to low carbon technologies by stocking a wide array of air source heat pumps and associated parts, supporting Britain’s transition away from fossil fuelled heating.

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