Find out how we helped J Brand Ltd in the electrical contracting sector to identify £160,000 of qualifying expenditure via R&D Tax Credits. Here is their story:
Originally set up in 1933 by Joseph Brand as an electrical contracting and repair business, J Brand Ltd. still operates with the same guiding principle of outstanding customer service underpinning all of its many activities. "My Customer, My Responsibility" is their motto.
J Brand has diversified and flourished over the years, from its pioneering work during the infancy of data communications in the 1970s to its Europe-wide range of services today. Adding a dedicated support desk facility and configuration centres in the North West of England has meant they can offer their customers a wide range of highly specialised technical services. The company's success comes from actually listening to their clients and their specific needs, instead of trying to push them into a one-size-fits-all solution.
Many of the J Brand's projects involve working at multiple sites, with a typical installation involving over 1000 sites across the UK and into Europe, each needing data and electrical installations and PC/EPOS systems. J Brand works to tight timescales, with a highly skilled staff over 120 often working out of normal office hours to meet its clients' needs. Although the industry trend seems to be toward sub-contracting, J Brand believes that directly employing its staff means they can better stand by the quality of their work
Project – PV Renewable Energy Systems incorporating Battery Storage
With traditional photovoltaic solar energy (PV) systems connected to the grid, a power cut means they stop producing energy altogether. This is actually to do with safety regulations, but it can be a little disheartening when your systems shut down unexpectedly on a sunny afternoon. Off-the-shelf systems simply weren't cut out to tackle this problem, so J Brand's solution meant going right back to the drawing board to come up with something better.
What Was The Commercial Objective?
Having established what they wanted to accomplish, the J Brand team put together a list of requirements for their new system.
They wanted to develop intelligent PV systems that included battery storage. When the sun is shining and the PV is generating, any excess power would be stored rather than exported to the grid.
Only once the battery unit is fully charged would any excess electricity be exported to the grid.
In a power cut, and the batteries are charged, the system would disconnect from the grid and support its load from the batteries as an "island converter". During daylight hours, it would continue to charge its batteries from the panels.
When darkness falls, the supported load could then actually be powered from the batteries without needing the sun on the panels. Each night, excess power collected during the day could then be used to further reduce electricity bills.
“Honestly, I didn't think it applied to us. I didn't think we'd get an opportunity to have a research and development tax claim or refund, but I was proved wrong pretty quickly. We were introduced to RIFT by the Joint Industry Board, and they helped us from day one.
"After conversations, we quickly realized that we had a couple of claims, and we progressed them from there. It was something from nothing that turned to a decent situation for us pretty quickly. From a meeting, to writing a report, to extracting information from us quite succinctly and clearly, the total amount we received was in the region of £160,000. I'm looking forward to doing another claim with them on another side of our business.
"If I was introducing them to someone, I'd just say that this company is easy to work with, and you'll be surprised at the results. You'll be surprised what you have incurred as R&D, which you probably don't think is R&D." Dan Little, Director at J Brand
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