SunGift has had a strong connection with the University of Exeter from the early days when the university introduced a degree in renewables.

This summer we appointed graduate Owen McCarthy to the design team. Owen studied Renewable Energy Engineering at the university’s Penryn campus and continued on to take his Integrated Masters. He joined SunGift as Trainee Domestic Solar Design Engineer straight after graduating, applying after seeing the role advertised on the university jobs postings. We asked Owen about his experiences so far:

Why renewables?

I’ve always been interested in science, technology and maths, and I became interested in renewable energy during my school years. I was keen on getting involved in driving change, so the degree course was the perfect option.

What attracted you to SunGift?

The role at SunGift resonated with me, I felt it would give me the chance to use my problem solving skills to make a difference. I started in July and the design team brought me up to speed quickly.

What informed your decision to accept the job?

I looked on the website at the profiles of the team members and saw that they had a similar ethos to mine which was really important. I was keen to stay in the area, having studied in Cornwall and been so close to the coast this was a bonus. I love outdoors activities, surfing, hiking, cycling and running and the South West has great places to enjoy and explore.

What does your role involve?

I’m able to tap into years of experience within the company. What SunGift does is listen to the requirements of each client and design systems to suit them – understanding what will work best for their individual needs.

So my role is within the domestic sector; I talk to residential customers, explain what we’re offering in terms of energy generation and storage, and design the initial system prior to survey. The survey may highlight specific constraints we need to work with or around. If so, I redesign the system then hand this over to the project management team.

Most of my projects are in Devon, with some allowing me to revisit Cornwall. I’m currently working with Cornwall Council on the installation of systems on some of their housing. I enjoy getting to visit many scenic places and talking to customers as part of my role.

How about SunGift’s systems?

I joined at a good time – there’s a real vision of where things are headed. The company is investing in a major new IT system so I’m here while it’s being introduced and I can see how it will benefit us all. The design team is contributing to the development of the system, we’re making suggestions which are being listened to. It’s great to have input.

What do you think of it so far!

Being new to working in the renewables sector I didn’t have too many expectations at the start, but I’ve since been involved in lots of different tasks getting to see many aspects of the business from design to getting hands on and helping with installation, and I’ve really enjoyed the job variation. The location of the offices at Huxham Barns is really nice and I already feel like a member of the team.