Voltage as a Service: save energy without any capital expenditure
Robert Macklin, chief financial officer for leading voltage optimisation brand Powerstar, discusses the long-standing issue of rising energy costs for businesses, and how energy efficiency technologies, such as voltage optimisation, when supplied as a service rather than a product, can play a key role in lowering electrical consumption and energy costs without investing any capital expenditure.
Problem at the source
In recent years, ever-rising energy costs is something all businesses in the UK have been forced to come to terms with as the country’s largest providers continue to increase their tariffs for both commercial and residential customers, despite energy regulator Ofgem reporting that there is no clear reason why this should be the case. 
Additionally, due to European design characteristic standards, the majority of electrical equipment in the UK is designed to operate at optimal efficiency at around 220V, whilst the electricity network in the UK traditionally supplies voltage within the range of 225V-253V, with the average voltage currently supplied in the UK being 242V.
This oversupply of voltage increases the energy wasted, which inflates annual electricity costs and increases carbon emissions.
Overcoming the oversupply
In order to reduce escalated electricity costs, there are a number of solutions that allow facilities to decrease energy consumption, whilst also offering carbon reduction benefits. Voltage optimisation, as a bespoke solution, is one example that works by reducing a sites’ incoming supply to an optimal level depending on the business’ voltage profile, equipment, and requirements, providing a number of monetary and sustainable benefits.
This technology optimises, cleanses and conditions the incoming supply to lessen the negative effects of overvoltage, such as wasted energy and a shortened lifespan of electrical equipment. The reduction in the overall electricity consumption thereby minimises a business’ electricity costs and curtails CO2 emissions, helping protect corporate social responsibility and reputation at a time when sustainable reporting is becoming a more widely expected part of a company’s annual stakeholders’ reports.
Voltage as a Service: minimal risk, maximum reward
Investing in energy efficiency technology often requires capital investment at the project’s conception. Although typically a Powerstar system will pay for itself through energy consumption savings within 3-4 years, it can still be deemed unviable to businesses that don’t have the capital to invest from the outset, especially when dealing with a large portfolio of sites.
Despite being interested in the benefits that energy efficiency solutions can provide, particularly with increasing pressure from CSR and energy efficiency standards (such as the announced Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) earlier this year and ESOS phase 2), businesses may be unable to gain approval due to funding rules, capital outlay or third parties. For these companies, generally, the way around this obstacle is to start with a selection of the sites where the largest amount of savings are identified and then slowly roll out across additional sites over time, which is an acceptable process but can be elongated.
In response to these barriers, Powerstar introduced a service that businesses can take advantage of, which provides Voltage as a Service (VaaS) to the client. This involves a bespoke service contract being agreed between Powerstar and the benefactor, which specifies the length of the service term and payment structure allowing for flexibility.
VaaS is available on Powerstar’s full range of voltage optimisation solutions and does not require any capital outlay from the client, meaning working capital can instead be utilised for projects core to the business’ activities. In addition, the fixed regular payments for the VaaS agreement is based on the economic benefit of the solution; these payments will always be less than the savings achieved through the installation of the solution, meaning the customer will be cash positive from day one.
Powerstar’s engineering-led approach continues to resonate through the VaaS agreement, meaning each client’s contract will be tailored specifically to the unique needs and characteristics of the facility, allowing for flexibility to ensure maximum value for the customer.
Powerstar is a market leader in the industry, delivering a range of bespoke energy saving solutions that are designed and manufactured in the UK. For more information on voltage optimisation as a service visit the Powerstar website at www.powerstar.com