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After recently being awarded a new Quality Standard by ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) and reminded by the Norwegian Classification Society, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) that due to their merger with the German Classification Society Germanischer Lloyd (GL) their logo has been changed to reflect the new company name of DNV-GL, the Directors at South Shields based Solar Solve Marine decided to collate and publicise the array of world-wide Type Approvals and the Manufacturing, Design and Quality Assessment Certificates that they currently hold.


Type Approved by Lloyds, ABS and DNV-GL

Company chairman John Lightfoot commented, “As a very proud and successful British based organisation it is fitting that we should begin with London based Lloyds Register, who have been involved with certifying ship safety for more than 250 years and were the first Classification Society to Type Approve the SOLASOLV anti-glare roller sunscreen products solasafe and SOLAROLA. That was in May 2001 and then as part of a marketing campaign to North America we decided to expand our Type Approvals for the SOLASOLV range and were successful in September 2001 with an application to ABS.”

“This was followed by a further Type Approval, from DNV and for the same 2 products, in July 2002. Three years later the ROLASOLV range of marine roller blinds were Type Approved by DNV, in June 2005 and bringing up the rear is the recent ABS Quality Evaluations Certificate of Conformance to ISO 9001-2008 Quality Management Standard awarded in October 2014.”

Solar Solve Marine consider themselves to be the global marine industry’s Brand leading manufacturer and supplier of anti-glare roller sunscreens and specialist marine roller blinds for all types of vessels and have the documentary evidence to prove it. The organisation’s current team of 16 long serving and dedicated people boasts a total of over 200 employee-years delighting its customers, with the two founders having done so since the prototype SOLAROLA products were installed at the wheelhouse windows of the first vessel, Johanna Oldendorff, at Sunderland Shipbuilders way back in May 1987.

The Company has been at the forefront of awareness campaigns to bring to the attention of ship-owners, shipbuilders and navigation bridge personnel the obvious benefits of anti-glare roller sunscreens as a Navigation Safety Aid and they are now extensively installed at navigation bridge windows on the majority of new vessels delivered by the world’s major shipbuilders. In partnership with their World Wide Distributors working out of more than 40 Office Locations on 6 Continents, Solar Solve Marine has ensured that the SOLASOLV brand has been THE leader for all of the subsequent 28 years, along with what was later to be named as the ROLASOLV brand of specialist marine roller blinds that were launched in October 1987. The Chairman and the Managing Director have been so successful in leading this initiative that not only has the Solar Solve organisation won over 15 awards for export achievement, good business practice and excellence in the marine industry but the pair themselves have won individual business awards and both have been presented with MBE medals from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for their achievements in International Trade. Altogether over 140,000 screens and blinds have been supplied to around 14,000 vessels and other locations.

With an Internationally recognised Quality Assured Management System and Type Approvals for their SOLASOLV products that are officially recognised by the UK, USA, Norway, Germany and most other maritime nations, as well as packing cases made in the factory that comply with the UK Wood Packaging Material Marking Programme (to ensure we don’t export any beetles or bugs accidently), the multi award winning organisation is confident that they have everything they need to continue wowing their customers for many more years to come.

John Lightfoot concludes, “Just as in life, so in exporting, it’s not easy but it’s worth the effort. For example, to be a supplier with the US federal government we had to spend a good deal of time applying to be included in their System for Award Management (SAM), being assigned a CAGE number and one or two other things. We do it because we have little choice. There is no ship building in the UK to speak of, certainly not enough to keep 16 people in full time jobs, so we have to export 90% of turnover.”

“The message is simple and straightforward. Find customers you can work with and treat them like Royalty. Customer is King. They can probably survive without you but you certainly cannot survive without them. Whatever it takes, you have to do and if that means complying with all sorts of legislative paperwork or travelling half way round the world, do it willingly and enjoy it!”