A Wearside family run renewable energy business is celebrating 10 years in the forefront of their sector by appointing a new Director and installing state of the art solar technology on one of the region’s most iconic buildings.

Advanced Renewable Power (AR Power) based in Washington is run by husband-and-wife team Mark and Maria Dunville who started the business in 2011 from a small office in Newcastle City Centre.

With ever changing goalposts in government subsidies, the couple have seen their competitors come and go. It hasn’t all been plain sailing however thanks to the effects of extreme changes in the Feed in Tariff and subsequent COVID lockdown, yet the business has grown exponentially with impressive order books, a forecasted tripling of turnover and a current workforce of 28.

The business has also changed its focus from domestic to commercial solar installations particularly with the use of new technology in the form of battery storage which enables properties to capture energy from the sun via the solar panels and then store it until it is needed. AR Power is the leading installer of Solar Photovoltaic Battery Storage in the region and are an accredited installer for Tesla battery systems.

With a background in engineering, the firm have recently appointed their Head of Operations Chris Balmer to Operations Director, a position that Washington born Chris relishes.

“This is an ever-growing industry that is revolutionising the way that people get their energy. I spent years in the manufacturing sector doing the same things and in the few months that I have been here, I have been impressed at the culture and the “can do” ethos of the company which has helped me to settle in. I’m also very impressed with the technology we are using which harnesses renewable energy and reduces fuel costs drastically – an important consideration in today’s climate of rising bills,” said Chris.

One of Chris’s first major projects was to manage the installation of 11 solar systems at key buildings owned by Newcastle City Council such as swimming pools and other public buildings. Chris and his team are also responsible for providing a state-of-the-art solar system to one of the most iconic buildings in Newcastle – the Theatre Royal.

“We have installed 31 panels on the roof of the theatre which equates to 11.62 kWp of Solar PV power. This means that any electricity used within the building will first come from the solar panels before pulling from the mains electricity grid, “said Chris. “We anticipate large savings on their electricity bills.”

Technical Director Mark Dunville added: “Chris has already increased efficiency with his team and is currently working on several high-profile commercial installations across the region. He has a passion for the environment and fits right in with our goals to achieve Net Zero as soon as possible. As a family run business, we are confident that our new addition to the family will help us to grow even more and encourage businesses to become greener and more efficient with their energy usage.”