Owen Coyne, Director of Wickman Group, Cllr Jim O'Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change and Jonathan Howl, Business Advisor at Coventry City Council

A Coventry based company has cut its carbon emissions by installing solar PV and switching to LED lighting.

Wickman, based at Leofric Business Park in Coventry has cut carbon emissions by 24 tonnes a year and saved over £20,000 a year on energy bills.

For over 90 years, Wickman has been producing multispindle lathes with a lifespan as long as half a century. At Wickman, sustainability is at the core of their ethos. To further this mission, they go above and beyond by encouraging their customers to embrace repair over replacement. They achieve this by providing spare parts for all their machines, regardless of their age or date of manufacture.

Wickman began their journey towards net zero in 2010 by replacing their outdated boiler and added shower facilities to encourage employees to bike to work. Later, they upgraded their lighting system with LED lights.

The small steps, and their immediate positive benefits, gave Chris Barrett, Managing Director of Wickman, the confidence needed to make a major change to his business. Chris approached the Green Business Programme, which was part funded by European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Coventry City Council, in 2021 seeking support to install a solar PV system on the roof of their headquarters.

Wickman was awarded a grant of £24,000 towards installing a new solar PV system. Wickman also paid £50,000 towards this project, a business cost which will be returned in less than three years as the business is now expected to save over £20,000 a year on energy bills.

Commenting on how simple the process was Chris Barrett said, “We were really pleased to work with the Green Business team. They completed an energy audit which confirmed many of the suspicions we had about energy waste and alternatives. It gave us a credible and independent report around which we could discuss and make decisions.

“We are pleased that we will save money, of course that’s good for business – but we are also proud to be doing our big in the fight against climate change. I would urge any local business keen to do the same to contact the Green Business team.”

“The grant funding really made a difference between the project going ahead or not. Equally importantly the support both financially and professionally has given us the incentive we needed to get on to the work,”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change said, “Wickman is not only a long established Coventry company – but one that has really embraced the need to integrate sustainability into every part of its business. The company and the environment will benefit from the new solar panels, so this really is a win-win.

“We have been able to deliver European funded programmes that have created over 730 jobs and contributed to saving over 14,000 tonnes of carbon. And although the programme is drawing to a close the jobs created, and the carbon savings will continue – which really is the best legacy.”

Published: Monday, 31st July 2023