Belfast Telegraph

£19m boost for Co Down solar energy company has created extra 15 jobs

By Rachel Martin

The Co Down company behind the biggest rooftop solar installation in Ireland has said it's creating up to 15 new jobs.

SALIIS in Carryduff said it will be taking on new staff after winning contracts worth up to £19m in Great Britain.

It will be installing solar panels in around 8,000 homes across the Midlands and south east of England - work worth a total of £15m. And the firm said it plans to bring over project management teams from Northern Ireland for the work.

It has previously carried out similar work for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, as well as on council housing in Northampton.

And SALIIS will also be setting up a new 20-acre solar farm in England. It will be fitting around 18,000 panels on the 5MW site, which will provide enough electricity for around 1,000 homes.

Last year the company installed 14,000 solar panels on the roof of aerospace giant Bombardier's main premises in east Belfast.

The latest work is supported by a £500,000 loan from the Growth Loan Fund that will be used as working capital for the projects.

The fund controls a £50m budget used to provide funding to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to access growth finance. It's supported by Invest NI.

Jenna Mairs, investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners, said: "SALIIS has achieved a remarkable turnover in a very short period of time. They identified a gap in the renewable energy market and have positioned themselves as a leading provider.

"The company's rapid growth was an attractive proposition for the Growth Loan Fund."

SALIIS currently employs 51 people, including 45 who are based in Northern Ireland.

While the business is based in Carryduff, it operates throughout the UK.

The company started out in 2012 as a satellite and cable television sales and installation firm.

But following a move to the renewables sector, it has rapidly expanded. After just four years of business the firm employs 51 people and has an annual turnover of £8.8m.

And SALIIS managing director Michael Burke said he is optimistic about further growth in the sector. He added he expects the company could double turnover within the next two years.

"We have worked extensively across Great Britain and Ireland, providing renewable and energy efficient services to public and private sector clients," Mr Burke said.

"One of the biggest projects we've worked on to date was installing 14,000 solar panels on the roof of Bombardier last year."

The £4m project was the largest rooftop solar installation in Ireland.

"The backing from the Growth Loan Fund is a major confidence boost for the business," Mr Burke added.

"We have a significant pipeline of work for the coming 12 months and would hope to be recruiting for a number of new positions over the coming year. The new jobs will be a mix of technical, sales and operation positions.

"We'd like to expand into other markets and we've had discussions with companies in Dubai and France.

"We're also going to place a real emphasis on research and design, developing our services and SMART products."

Belfast Telegraph