Case studies, fact sheets and interviews offering hints, tips, and inspiration to help your business grow. 

From 7 May 2024, the North East Growth Hub is a project of the North East Combined Authority. We may still refer to "the North East Local Enterprise Partnership" (or "the North East LEP") in some of our older articles. 

In conversation with Lewis Caseley, Commercial Director of Northumberland-based energy business Solar Capture Technologies, about accessing business support through the North East Growth Hub

Please introduce your business, Solar Capture Technologies

Solar Capture Technologies design, develop and manufacture high quality bespoke solar PV (photovoltaic) modules for various commercial uses.

Originating as BP Solar and the National Renewable Energy Centre in an R&D capacity, we have a wealth of knowledge in PV. The business operates across several sectors - from offshore to vehicle and building integrated PV - with tens of thousands of modules installed all around the world. We operate a megawatt volume manufacturing facility in Blyth, Northumberland.

We have recently launched a solar tile; a dual-purpose product acting as both a solar energy generator and roof covering, with the product designed to help eradicate fuel poverty. We are a passionate, sustainable business with ethical manufacturing processes that provide end users with high quality solar products that outperform market equivalents.

How did you first find out about the North East Growth Hub?

Solar Capture Technologies received funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership a number of years ago and an introduction was made to the North East Growth Hub.

What business support services have you accessed in the region to grow Solar Capture Technologies, and how has the North East Growth Hub helped you to access support?

Having a positive and productive conversation with the North East Growth Hub helped us identify areas of funding that align with our business needs, and the markets we operate in.

This gave us lots to think about, and we used the information to develop plans and explore business opportunities. By understanding our individual business needs, the North East Growth Hub was able to help us to access a range of services: including funding, skills, innovation and digitalisation support.

How has the advice and support provided by the North East Growth Hub aided the growth and development of Solar Capture Technologies?

The North East Growth Hub signposted us to staff training, which was delivered through the North East Ambition programme, and it has also supported with new product development via the Energy Innovation Challenge Programme.

We received capital grant and specialist workshop support through the Made Smarter programme that has helped the company along the path from small scale to full-scale manufacture.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs considering accessing support to grow their business?  

There can be a lot of demands on your time as an entrepreneur; you’re often spinning lots or plates. But it’s well worth taking the time to see what help and support is out there.

We found networking worked well for us, it opened up many opportunities – some we didn’t know existed. The North East Growth Hub can help accelerate these introductions by signposting regional events, and whilst not all will be of use at the time, you never know when the contacts may come in handy.  

Networking played a big part in our growth, so we've certainly found it helpful in the long run.  

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of business advice I've ever received is to focus on building strong relationships with clients and colleagues. Trust and communication are key in fostering successful partnerships and navigating challenges effectively.

What are your future ambitions for Solar Capture Technologies, and will you continue to access support and advice from the North East Growth Hub in the future?

We want to continue to grow the business and make solar accessible to everyone. We manufacture here in the UK, providing high quality products and creating high quality green jobs for local and national product deployment.

Support from the North East Growth Hub has helped facilitated that process by understanding our growth plans and needs, then helping us to see the relevance and benefits of specialist business support and funding opportunities – including how to access them.

Access more help and support with operating and running your business by visiting the Operations Toolkit on the North East Growth Hub.

You can also book a free appointment to speak to one of our expert Business Support Advisers.