Enterprise Europe Network

Here comes the sun

Posted: 22 Apr 2015

Dutch green-energy entrepreneurs build a sustainable partnership with a UK solar panel manufacturer.

Dutch entrepreneurs Erik Pardijs and Benno Klein Goldewijk have a passion for sustainability. They set up their business - Premium Energy Systems BV - to offer innovative, high quality and attractive renewable energy systems to the Dutch market.

While the demand was clear, finding manufacturers that met their high standards proved harder than expected. This is when they enlisted the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, one of 600 branches of the Enterprise Europe Network helping entrepreneurs tap into new markets.

Ready for the challenge, Network expert Annemarie Destrée set to work, reaching out to Network colleagues across Europe and beyond to find the ideal match. "We have the resources to focus more directly on achievable opportunities in a time-efficient manner," she explained.

Annemarie's most promising response came from Viridian Solar, a manufacturer of solar panels in Cambridge, UK and an SME client of the Enterprise Europe Network East of England.

Viridian owner Jonathan Mitchell had been receiving regular advice on potential new markets from his local Network expert Mark Hofman. When Mitchell expressed an interest in the Dutch and German markets, Hofman worked with Network colleagues to put together tailor-made guides on business culture, economy and taxation in those markets, as well as government incentives for installing solar systems. This meant that when the opportunity arose in the Netherlands, Mitchell was fully briefed and ready for business.

Shortly after being introduced the companies agreed to cooperate and the Dutch company placed its first order with Viridian for nearly €25,000.

"We were impressed with Viridian's combination of high-quality aesthetics with simple in-roof installation," says Erik Pardijs. "Nothing similar was yet available in the Netherlands."

Premium Energy Systems BV now represents Viridian Solar in The Netherlands and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia

"We are very grateful to the Enterprise Europe Network for helping raise our profile internationally," says Jonathan Mitchell of Viridian Solar.

Intelligent Energy