South Shields firm wins second award for greenhouse scheme

Maria Pittiglio, ARPower's finance director collecting the award from left, author and sustainability expert Leo Johnson, and Greg Rhymes, UK sales manager with Schneider Electric/The Northumberland Eco House.
Maria Pittiglio, ARPower's finance director collecting the award from left, author and sustainability expert Leo Johnson, and Greg Rhymes, UK sales manager with Schneider Electric/The Northumberland Eco House.

A South Tyneside-based energy specialist is diversifying business in the wake of winning its second prestigious national award for the same project in five weeks.

Advanced Renewable Power (ARPower) picked up Solar Power Portal Awards’ best rooftop project (under 250kw) to go with Heating and Renewables Awards’ residential retrofit project of the year it won last month.

The company is now executing long-held ambitions by expanding business to include electrical contracting as a natural extension of its technical operations.

The Solar Power Portal Awards success, which came in front of industry experts at the NEC in Birmingham, recognises the best of Britain’s solar industry and the excelling of good business practice, professionalism, quality, safety and innovation.

It was awarded for ARPower’s part in the transformation of a derelict glasshouse on a Georgian country estate in Northumberland into a modern solar powerhouse.

Its team overcame strict planning guidelines and other challenges to bring Eco House Northumberland, near Longframlington, into the 21st century.

Director Mark Dunville said: “Once again we are absolutely delighted that our innovation and technical skills have been recognised within the renewables industry.

“Our achievement is made all the greater considering that the contenders within our award category were very well-known companies.”

From a new start-up in 2011, ARPower has expanded throughout the North East into Yorkshire, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders, evolving from the domestic market into the industrial and commercial sector.

Its other recent solar panel installations include Sunderland’s Castle View Academy, Kingston Park Community Centre in Newcastle, and North East Ambulance stations in Stockton, Bishop Auckland, Peterlee and Newton Aycliffe.

The company began the eight-month Eco House Northumberland scheme last November and installed rows of solar panels across the building’s roof.

A number of major stumbling blocks were overcome during the planning stage, and issues around waterproofing, which made the cost non-viable, leading to plan changes.

Little remained of the original greenhouse except for parts attached to a 230m-long garden wall, foundation stones and vents, which had been planned to remain as part of the development but were found to be unsuitable.

ARPower, which is based at the £4.5m One Trinity Green business centre in Eldon Street, South Shields, fitted 100 same-size Solar Frontier thin film modules to the building’s roof and brought added heat technology to its interior.

The single-storey property has been designed to efficiently maximise every bit of available energy and utilized high performance glazing to do so.

Solar Portal Power is the UK’s leading renewable energy publication.

More information on ARPower is available by calling 0191 481 3316 or visiting www.arpower.co.uk