Dulas Ltd began as the engineering arm for the Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) assisting with the everyday engineering issues at the visitor centre whilst developing new products and technologies aimed towards using energy efficiently or generating heat and electricity from renewable sources. A key driver for the business was and still is to develop sustainable solutions to assist the poorest of the poor and Dulas’ mission statement is: ‘To improve lives through renewable energy and sustainable technologies’. In the early eighties the small team at Dulas had to be committed to these technologies, their capabilities and their future place in the worlds’ energy portfolio, something that required quite visionary thinking back in the early eighties.

Our main challenges when starting the business

A difficult decision was taken to leave CAT and set up independently as Dulas Ltd, a bold move which could only be taken by people with a strong belief in their products and services. Finance had to be raised and was eventually gratefully secured from local sources. In the early days Dulas effectively had to create their own market, something that the company is proud to have succeeded in still persevere to do. Securing funding to develop such products was very difficult in the days when the market was nonexistent.

Success Factor

Global awareness of the reality of climate change has meant that agreements have been made with binding commitments across many nations to reduce CO2 emissions. These commitments have lead to the introduction of energy policies by governments which will Governments have also introduced incentives (carrots) to go along with these policies (sticks) the most recent and significant UK example being the Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme (or Feed in Tariff) recognising that both sticks and carrots are essential for these products to successfully enter the mainstream. These incentives have an immediate, significant and positive impact on Dulas’ operations and confidence. Energy security and the awareness of Peak Oil has also played a part in encouraging the take up of renewable energy technologies as countries strive to become more self sufficient in terms of indigenous energy generation. Governments, NGO aid institutions and charitable bodies are also helping international activities as they deal with the issues above as well as working towards achieving the millennium goals and the eradication of various diseases. This leads to the installation of solar powered water pumps to supply potable water, irrigation and water for livestock, the building of remote medical centres that require solar power due to the lack of local grid infrastructure and introducing large immunisation programmes that require large quantities of vaccines which all need to be stored at the correct temperatures.

The Future

Dulas has ambitious expansion plans and are in the process of securing further office and warehousing space within the Machynlleth area, providing well paid, sustainable jobs in rural mid Wales. A new Scottish office will be operational by early October and early indications show that the brand is strong and the level of business will be considerable. Plans are also underway for an additional office in Cardiff and the South East of England by the middle of next year. By the end of the year, Dulas will be employing 100 people and have a turnover of over £20m.