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Greg Barker, minister of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), today travelled to the North East of England to visit specialist UK PV manufacturer Romag.

Mr Barker was given a tour of Romag’s state of the art manufacturing facility and was able to observe first hand exactly how PV panels are made at the plant in County Durham, specifically Romag’s more bespoke roof and building integrated products. 

Romag employs around 150 highly skilled staff at its head office and support many more throughout the supply chain both here in the UK and further afield. Mr Barker was able to chat to staff about their role in the industry and witness some of the innovative development projects they are currently involved in. He then took the opportunity to sit down with Romag directors and for a discussion regarding the wider industry and the role of PV in UK’s future energy mix.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: "Solar PV has an exciting future in the UK, one where the Government and industry work together to ensure this vital green technology continues to make a real difference in supplying our homes and businesses with clean green power.

"Romag is one of a number of innovative and successful green companies in the North East, leading the way forward with a thriving manufacturing facility employing highly skilled staff."

Kevin Webster, Technical Director at Romag, said: “We were delighted to host a visit from Greg Barker and look forward to working together to strengthen the position of solar power in the UK.

 “We strongly believe that the benefits of having a UK manufacturer of PV products go far beyond the economical benefits in terms of employment and skills base and see a huge advantage in the innovation and product development opportunities it brings. Being local means that we can work with the UK construction industry to develop products to meet its needs, both now and in the future.”

Romag is part of people, property and planet business Gentoo Group and Mr Barker spent the morning in Sunderland talking to staff and residents finding out more about how solar panels are used in practice and the real tangible benefits they are having on resident’s lives. 

The Minister also launched a report, published today by Gentoo, which suggests people in the North East are prepared to pay incrementally for energy efficient home improvements, including solar PV, and that such work could help improve people’s lives.

Gentoo’s report, which summarises the progress of its 1200-home Green Deal pilot scheme to date, explains how 80% of the households it has offered the scheme to have chosen to participate, while at the same time explaining how Gentoo staff offered behavioural advice to households in order to increase their chances of saving money on their energy bill.

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