A CHESTER eco business has won up to £650,000 worth of business to supply 175 solar panels for a social housing scheme in Birmingham.
Solartwin, which is based in Watergate Street, is supplying the panels to the Bournville Village Trust, a not-for-profit housing association founded by chocolate manufacturer George Cadbury in 1900 to provide a community of decent homes for working men and women.
Solartwin managing director Barry Johnston, who employs 14 people, said: “It’s wonderful news for Chester and a pat on the back for the North West Development Agency who saw the genius in the technology even before I did. They gave us seed-corn funding that enabled us to start employing people.”
Barry said that while many businesses were suffering from the economic down-turn he felt “optimistic” about 2009. Solar Twin now sells in UK, Ireland, Portugal to both domestic and commercial customers.
Now in its ninth year of operation, the company is seeking an investor to deliver expansion plans in Europe.
The solar panels themselves are “unique” in that they have a small in-built solar electric system and the company has twice won SMART awards from the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and been rated as “best buy” by Ethical Consumer magazine.
Residents of the £25m housing development in South Birmingham are now looking forward to lower energy bills thanks to the solar panels which are large enough to provide 30-70% of each home’s hot water for washing and bathing over a year.
The zero carbon system means mains electricity is not used to run the solar pumps in the system. Instead solar electricity, also generated on site, will power all of the panel’s water pumping needs.
Hitesh Champaneri, of Bournville Village Trust said: “Bournville Village Trust brings the George Cadbury philosophy of quality and social responsibility to all its regeneration projects and sustainability is part of that legacy.
“Solar panels were used for the first time by the Trust in the early 1980’s in our development at Rowheath and we are continuing our interest in this innovative technology as a means of helping to arrest global warming.
“We selected the Solartwin technology because the zero carbon system delivers improved sustainability compared with other types of solar systems. Practically, the technology dispenses with the need to have a mains electrician present at installation.”
For more information about the solar water heating system visit: www.solartwin.com