Global award for North Wales eco entrepreneur Gareth Jones

A renewable energy expert from North Wales has won an international award.

Gareth Jones’s company Carbon Zero Renewables was named as solar installer of the year at the prestigious Finance Monthly Global Awards 2014.

It’s the latest in a string of accolades for the eco entrepreneur who is a former Institute of Directors’ Young Director of the Year for North Wales.

Earlier this year Gareth was re-elected President of North Wales for the Federation of Master Builders.

Gareth said: “We’re absolutely delighted to win the Finance Monthly Global Award.

“To be recognised on an international stage as well as in the UK reinforces that we are extremely good at this part of the business as well as other things.

“We’re looking forward to a prosperous future in the solar panel industry. We’re having a very busy time, orders are up and there’s a lot in the pipeline with a range of domestic and commercial projects.

“In recent years people have been wising up to the whole idea of green energy.

“Solar panels have become more affordable. The price of electricity has gone up and at the same time the wholesale cost of equipment has come down.  So, it has now become more affordable to the mainstream market.”

Gareth also practices what he preaches at his “eco office” in St Asaph.

Four solar panels generate up to 50% of the electricity needed to power the heating and lighting. Their office is fitted with low energy LED lighting and infra-red heating panels while extra-thick insulation also helps reduce the carbon footprint.

He said: “We’re now offering battery storage systems, so people can now store the power they get free from their solar panels.

“We do a range of other energy saving technologies which are not that new to the market but again becoming more main stream. That can save people up to 19 per cent on their energy bills.

“One of the next big things is voltage optimisation which reduces the incoming mains voltage down.

“All domestic appliances are made for the European market and they’re all designed to run as low as 220 volts.

“The problem is that UK electricity supply is at least 240 volts when the appliance actually only needs 220 volts to run properly.

“We have this small unit that drops the mains voltage down to that lower level.  Everything still works as it should but you make instant savings and that can be a pay back in four years.

“One of our most popular products are infra-red heating panels which are cheaper to run than gas, oil or LPG.

“We’ve got them fitted in our eco-office in St Asaph and they provide good heating. The surface of the panels can be a mirror or a picture to suit the room they’re in.

“Essentially, it’s a glass panel with an infra- red element in it.  There are no moving parts and it doesn’t glow red.

“I think it’s going to be the future of home heating in modern day life as it can all be controlled via iPads or iPhones and you can have all these controls.

“You can turn the heating on an hour before you leave the office and by the time you get home the house is warm.”

Another big part of Carbon Zero’s business at the moment is FREE electric car charging points, through the Office for low emission vehicles in Central Government.

They have now fitted nearly 100 charging points at homes in North Wales alone since February 2014.

Gareth added: “The charging points can be fitted free subject to a survey. You don’t have to have an electric car.  The idea is that having one of these charging points future proofs your home but also makes you think about electric vehicles and because you’ve got one, next time you change your car, you may consider looking at one.

“We are currently one of Wales’s largest installers of charging stations.  We’ve installed them at various locations including the four star Tre Ysgawen Hall Country House Hotel on Anglesey.

“It can be a virtuous circle. A lot of people have been interested in solar panels off the back of fitting the free charging points.

“If you did buy an electric car and you’ve got solar panels then you’ve effectively got your own petrol station at home.

“The running costs for an electric car is about 2p a mile – with solar panels, it’s almost zero.

“We’re also starting to price some commercial schemes with rapid charge installations.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the electric vehicle revolution and helping to map out the future of the road network in the UK.”

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