Cork-based company Swyft Energy, an energy installation comparison platform, got off the ground with it’s boiler installation services.
However, just before the pandemic, the team behind the energy technology firm realised there was a growing appetite for something else.
“Certainly, the gas boiler side was the main breadwinner. But in terms of the solar PV, we saw a huge mentality shift over the last 12 months,” said Swyft Energy’s head of growth David Meaney.
The company started to research how it could develop a solar PV installation offering during the pandemic and eventually carried out three case studies where the firm worked with contracted professionals to design, supply and install solar panels. For one of these case studies, Munster rugby star Peter O’Mahony was the customer.
The interest in the solar PV side of the business began to pique last year and so far the company has been providing solar panels to residential and farming customers.
“We understand that solar panels are a luxury good, but there’s so many positive benefits to them for either to your own pocket or to the environment and so forth,” said Mr Meaney.
The company is eyeing up the potential of supplying solar panels to commercial customers, but “for the rest of the year we’ll be focusing on growing the agricultural and residential side”, said Mr Meaney.
To fuel this expansion, Swyft Energy aims to raise further funds by the end of this year but the amount still needs to be decided. The company raised €5m in funding at the start of the pandemic.
The next round of funding will not only go towards developing its solar energy offering, but also expanding the business in general into other markets.
The business initially had plans to develop a presence in the UK but with Brexit putting pressure on its supply chain this became harder to do. Now the company’s expansion ambitions face even more challenges with the price hike of building materials caused by inflation.
“The materials increase in terms of steel and copper is affecting everyone in that industry, really. But it’s more so on the PV side,” said Mr Meaney.
Mr Meaney said the company’s contacts, such as executive chairman Pat Casey, who held senior management positions in Kerry Group for over 30 years, will help the company grow internationally in the near future.
Swyft Energy’s sister company Pipelyne, an e-commerce platform for home service industry workers, will also aid this expansion as it already has customers in the US and other markets said Mr Meaney. Pipelyne processes payments made through customers that use Swyft Energy.
Swyft Energy originally started off as a platform that enabled homeowners to get estimated prices for energy product installation from different suppliers. The emphasis at the start was very much on boiler installation services.
“So if you needed a painter or a decorator, if you needed a gas boiler engineer, if you needed someone to fix the light in your bathroom, that kind of a thing,” said Mr Meaney.
The company was formed in 2017 by Corkmen Adrian Casey and Joseph Freyne who hold degrees in engineering and business.
“They couldn’t get their head around this whole offline ( installation) industry and why this was,” said Mr Meaney.
The company has over 100 staff and …….