Solarcentury one of the "Best 100 Companies"

The Times (UK) names Solarcentury as one of the “Best 100 Companies”: The 21st century must be the solar century, according to this renewable energy company. Although the firm is not yet in profit, staff feel sunny about the company that has powered up the Eden Project in Cornwall and the CIS Tower in Manchester. Solarcentury designs and supplies solar technology for commercial and residential buildings, and has installed more than 500 large-scale projects since it was founded in 1998.

The firm is based in London, with two other sites, and has 92 employees, typically sales staff. Four in 10 staff earn more than £35,000 a year and they have a flexible workplace. People can wear their sunnies to work, with a dress-down code, and they all work flexitime and occasionally from home. Staff can “buy” three extra days of holiday and can carry over five of their 25-day allowance to the following year. After five years, they get a paid sabbatical, which some have used to volunteer for the company charity, SolarAid, in Africa, to which the firm has donated £34,000. Solarcentury has pledged to give 5% of pretax profits when it moves into the black.

Staff agree the organisation makes the world a better place, the 96% positive score here is the second highest. Everyone apart from the four shareholders of the private firm is eligible for performance- and profit-related pay, private healthcare including families, childcare vouchers, a car allowance, non-contributory pension and free gym membership.

Jeremy Leggett, chief executive and founder, is an inspiration (89%) and runs the firm on sound principles (93%). Training programmes and awaydays include a two-day retreat each year. The management team, named after the sun god Apollo, gives a weekly update online. People think the company has star quality. They are excited about where it is going (91%), feel they can make a valuable contribution (89%) and say it does a lot to preserve the environment (86%).

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