Solarsense, the South West's leading solar installer, moved to picturesque grounds in Backwell in August 2010. Now with nearly 40 staff, we have our own in-house architect and professional building surveyor, as well as a specialist commercial installation team and several of our own PV and thermal teams too.
Stephen Barrett, an experienced engineer who spent many years servicing and repairing 1st generation solar thermal systems, founded and established Solarsense in 1994 near Bristol, employing a professional sales consultant to get business, whilst doing all the installation work himself. In the early days, most of the installations were solar thermal; building up to our longstanding successful relationship with innovative vacuum tube manufacturer Thermomax (now part of Kingspan Renewables).
Solarsense became a limited company and secured premises in Long Ashton Business Park in 2000, and some new thermal installers came onto the payroll. In 2001 Richard Simon, (now Photovoltaic Technical Director) an experienced building services engineer, joined the company and developed the Photovoltaic side of the business which now represents the larger part of our activities. The company sustained rapid growth in the years running up-to and since the introduction of the UK feed in tariff. With Kerry Burns installed as the General Manager, and a team of some 15 staff, the time was right in late 2009 to look for new premises.
On 16 June 2011, Solarsense won the Company of the Year Award 2011 at the prestigious national Renewable Energy Association awards dinner – a huge accolade for a strictly regional company who only operate in the South West.
We were also highly commended for the installation at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, at the Regen SW Green Energy Awards 2010, and our installation of solar thermal to heat the outdoor pool at the Clifton Lido in Bristol won Project of the Year at the same Regen SW Awards in 2009.
Solarsense have also achieved many regional and national ‘firsts’, including:
- First photovoltaic system under the Energy Saving Trust Grant Program in 2002
- Award-winning first large scale solar thermal system in the region at the Clifton Lido, Bristol
- The UK’s most famous large scale solar PV system, and the largest in the country at the time of installation, for Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis at Worthy Farm
- Our own direct action approach to charity solar, where we send a team and materials each year to help improve facilities in various parts of the developing world. Usually Africa or India, we team up with an existing charity which are already working in the area and add an extra dimension to their work by installing solar systems.
We are ideally situated in North Somerset to gain maximum yields from solar photovoltaics, due to a combination of high annual levels of sunshine and UV, low pollution levels, and cooling Westerly winds (solar PV panels perform less well in temperatures over 30°C). In fact, some of our systems in the South West of England outperform those fitted in Spain!