A SOLAR panel company started by a Portsmouth builder is bucking the trend and has gone from strength to strength.
Space Renewable Energy, which specialises in solar panel design, supply and installation, was founded by Steve Jackson, from Farlington, in 2010.
Steve worked for Warings Contractors in Portsmouth for 17 years before branching out and setting up his own business.
His business has weathered major changes to tariff rates – and is now enjoying a surge in business as local authorities install solar panels as a long-term investment and a way to save money.
He said: ‘We always knew the tariff would go down. The issue was that it happened so early. So many people had come along and set up in the trade that the government reached its numbers early.
‘It was a tough time and many businesses folded, but we kept on and now the business is building again, which is great for me but also for the council.
‘We have done a lot of work with schools and local authority buildings.
‘The future will be challenging but I believe we have got the potential to succeed.
‘More and more people are seeing the benefits and signing up, and as they do this will force the overall energy prices down.’
Steve now employs his wife Emma, an electrician, three roofers and several subcontractors. He has also hired apprentices.
His latest projects have seen panels installed at the Mountbatten Centre, in Stamshaw, on the Carnegie Library, in Fratton, at three schools in Portsmouth, at the Johns Pounds Centre and The Somers Town Community Hub. He has also been working with Milton Cross School to promote renewable energy.
Steve said he is proud to be doing business in his home town.
‘Portsmouth is alive,’ he said.
‘We have got good people here and as a small business you can receive some good support.’