City Hall solar panels win top award for Thorpe St Andrew firm
10:00 12 December 2012
An installation of 144 solar panels on the roof of Norwich City Hall has gained a local family business a national award.
Pro SolarPower, based in Thorpe St Andrew, has been named as ‘installer of the month’ for December by electronics giant Panasonic.
The nomination for the award follows the work of the company to install 144 Panasonic solar panels on the roof of City Hall back in April, a 36-kilowatt installation. Norwich City Council decided to have the solar panels installed on its roof in an effort to cut its energy costs and make money by selling electricity to the National Grid.
Company director Sean Gilvey – who runs the company with his brothers Gary, also a director, and Dion, operations manager – heard the news last week and was delighted to gain the status from Panasonic.
He said: “We are a Norwich company; we’ve been going for nine years and we’re a family business, but we are not a massive company so to be recognised by a company as big as Panasonic and to be featured on the homepage of their website really is great for us.”
Their business, based at Belmore Business Centre, in Belmore Road, has been trading as Pro SolarPower for three years but has experience in installing solar photovoltaic systems stretching back nine years.
They have completed more than 2,000 installations for residential, commercial, and agricultural premises but working on the Grade II listed City Hall was a delicate operation.
Mr Gilvey continued: “It was an incredibly complicated job and was months in the planning. It was a weekend operation as the city council had to make sure the building was on shutdown while we carried out the work.”
Pro SolarPower were only the third recipient of the new award from Panasonic and Mr Gilvey said it was a real coup for the company, which employs 12 people.
“Panasonic are very particular,” Mr Gilvey added. “We have been one of their premium installers for quite some time and they have a rather rigorous process to fulfil.
“They quality inspect numerous jobs and they go along unannounced and unexpected and want to see a quality job.
“They had contacted us and said ‘are you okay to do all this’, and I said yes but wasn’t sure what was happening. Then I got this email from the big man at Panasonic and realised it wasn’t just one of our competitors winding me up!”
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