Solar Panels Make Dragons Sweat
Author: Amy Catlow
Published: Monday, 12 September 2011
It’s not often you see the tables turned on the formidable Dragons (BBC2’s Dragon’s Den) but they got a taste of their own medicine when they were confronted by a solar panel business in the person of former bodybuilder and MD of Ploughcroft Solar - Chris Hopkins.
Unlike many of the contestants, Chris already had 14 years experience in the business and knew his stuff – projections and all. It was a delight to see the Dragons getting into a sweat over who could invest the most into the business. The ensuing battle resulted in Chris choosing a joint investment between Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden, much to the annoyance of Hilary Devey, who had offered to back her proposal with a team of experts and Duncan Bannatyne, who sulked.
The biggest surprise was that Peter Jones counted himself out from the start, muttering something about lack of disposable income and speaking to Chris in the condescending way that has become the trademark of these types of shows. I wonder if, when he saw the enthusiasm of his colleagues, he’d wished he’d stayed quiet until he’d heard the full story.
Chris’s business was already a success. His company had already done 5,000 installations across the UK at £12,000 - £14,000 a piece. He’d already teamed up with electrical company, Plumb and now wanted the finance to expand across the UK fast and to draw on the Dragon’s marketing expertise to turn his solar power company into a national brand. And with the backing of Theo and Deborah, I have no doubt that Chris will accomplish all that he sets out to do.
Peter Jones, what were you thinking of?