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ATL bets on summer heat to drive sales

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 2:19 PM
The Development Bank of Jamaica building at Oxford Road, New Kingston.

Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) is using the summer to try and increase sales, betting recent marketing spend on simultaneously pushing home entertainment systems and energy installations which can, over time, reduce household energy costs.

Mark Blair, head of engineering at ATL, said the company is targeting a 100 per cent increase in residential clients for solar and other energy-saving solutions.

Proposing an estimate of $800,000 to retrofit a three-bedroom house for solar power, thereby removing it from the Jamaica Public Service grid, the appliance trader is pointing householders to a line of credit disbursed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and loaned through affiliated financial institutions.

The investment, Blair said, should be recouped in four years, based on an estimate of current power usage by residential customers.

Blair said that since streamlining its energy division two years ago, ATL has completed "numerous installations from two-kilowatt grid-tie systems to 50-kilowatt systems for both residential and business clients".

He said the company is also presently working on a 250-kilowatt system that, hopefully, will be started this year.

"We have installed over 70 systems, both grid-tie and off-grid systems for residential customers, to date," he said.

According to Blair, "Energy prices in Jamaica as well as in the international marketplace have heightened the need for sustainable alternatives, so we find that we've been having a lot more customer conversations about energy conservation. Our mandate with ATL energy solutions is to provide our customers with a comprehensive resource centre to assess, design, implement and service energy-saving technology and equipment that will reduce consumption patterns and ultimately energy receipts."

Financing available

The ATL manager said household and business financing is available through the different banks, loan agencies and the National Housing Trust (NHT).

Some financiers, he said, are tapping into the DBJ's renewable energy loan facility. For smaller solutions, it is also advising them to look to funds loaned by the NHT.

Blair said "the summer months will undoubtedly generate higher energy usage as consumers compete with a variety of factors", including entertaining the children at home throughout the holiday break as well as 'beating the heat' through the acquisition of air-conditioning units or fans.

"We are expecting to double the residential clients as more clients are expressing an interest in the promotion," he said.