ECI Lighting, one of Ireland’s oldest lighting companies, is entering the “lighting as a service” (LAAS) market after securing €25 million in additional funding.
Established in 1960, ECI has secured the funds from an unnamed “global vendor finance company” to launch its new energy services business, and plans to challenge two established operators for market share.
The LAAS market is one in which a company doesn’t pay upfront for the cost of fitting energy-efficient lighting or control systems. Instead, it pays over the course of a number of years from the savings generated by the new systems. In addition, all maintenance is outsourced to the provider of the service.
ESB, which also offers the service, estimates that it can reduce lighting energy consumption by between 70 and 80 per cent.
ECI Lighting, which has set up a new division called ECI Energy Ltd, expects to employ an additional 20 staff as a result of this investment.
As part of its three-year vendor financing, it also envisages offering other clean energy technologies.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for ECI to scale a third-generation business and to deploy significant amounts of capital in order to drive real energy savings and efficiencies for our clients," said Declan Hanratty, ECI Lighting managing director.
The company distributes to more than 150 wholesale partners from its Dublin, Cork and Belfast offices. In addition, it offers an in-house architectural lighting design team and was recently involved in the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland building beside St Stephen's Green in Dublin, which was voted Ireland's favourite for 2018.
ECI will challenge established players including Urbanvolt, in which former Irish rugby captain Jamie Heaslip is an investor, and eLight with this new offering.
"We'd differentiate ourselves because there's a strong wholesale business and a strong architectural design business," said Mark Connolly, ECI's commercial director.
The Finglas-headquartered company expects turnover in 2019 to reach €15 million, with Mr Connolly predicting it could hit €20 million in 2020 with the addition of this new service.
Additionally, the LAAS business will help the company mitigate against the risks associated with Brexit – a concern due to their UK operation.
“The launch of this business will go a little way towards helping,” Mr Connolly said. “We’re pretty well prepared, we’re not complacent.”