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On 14th April 1992 in a small shop unit in Sunderland that had been converted into Solar Solve Marine’s first ‘factory’, a young lad called Peter Rhodes initialled the label fixed to a SOLASAFE® roller screen that he had just inspected and tested, to confirm that it was perfect.  It certainly must have been.  It had been ordered by Cromarty Firth Port Authority for installation at a window in their Vessel Traffic Services control room and we understand from the current personnel working there that the screen has given great service throughout the subsequent 25 years but eventually the time has come when it has to be replaced.  On 13th April this year we received an order for 6 SOLASAFE® roller sun screens that we are confident will do the job just as well as the previous screen.  The components, materials and construction of the SOLASAFE® screen has changed very little in the last 25 years, one of the few products that has not been ‘improved’ by any sort of new technology, we are pleased to say.

At Solar Solve we do allocate funds to R&D but we avoid change for the sake of change, especially if we cannot see any benefits for the end-user.
Company chairman John Lightfoot commented, “When the SOLASAFE® product was first developed we had to take into account manufacturers’ guarantees on some components and carry out in-house accelerated life testing of the finished products. We then ‘guesstimated’ they would last for at least 5 years of normal use and so created a 5-YEAR GUARANTEE.  It was eventually extended to a 7-YEAR GUARANTEE when we saw evidence of screens that were more than 10 years old that were still working fine.”
“The problem with guarantees for window blinds is not knowing how often they will be used or how ‘heavy handed’ the person using them might be.”

“Either way we are delighted to hear from our friends at Cromarty Firth that they have been happy with the initial batch and we take great pride in the fact that they have returned to us for some more.” 

Top Image – 30 years ago, the first Solar Solve products to be developed by John Lightfoot were the SOLAROLA, SOLASAFE and DIMMLITE, which were created during 1987 at his ‘factory’ shop unit at 204 High Street West, Sunderland. This photo of John outside the unit was taken around that time.

Peter Rhodes

Above Image -This photo is of blindmaker Peter Rhodes in the 204 High Street West factory around the time he performed the final testing and inspection of the SOLASAFE screen for Cromarty Firth Port Authority in 1992.  He is cutting aluminium profile for a similar product but because he is making the product he will not be involved with the final testing or inspection of it.

Below Image – A VERY SATISFIED CUSTOMER – Julie met Gordon Mackenzie, a very satisfied Solar Solve Customer, on his Scrabster Harbour Trust stand on set-up day, 16th September 1997, at the World Fishing Exhibition, Vigo, Spain. This article, which was printed in the December 1997 edition of Solar Solve Marine’s Newsletter continued as follows…Gordon has enjoyed the benefits of SOLASAFE for almost 10 years.  Initially he was at Cromarty Firth Port Authority and now at Scrabster.  As well as being valued customers in their own right, we are even more indebted to Gordon and his colleagues at both locations… their enthusiasm for our products is so great that they continually recommend them to their many visitors and business associates. OUR SINCERE THANKS TO EVERYONE!!!

Julie Lightfoot and Gordon Mackenzie - Scrabster Harbour Trust Stand 16th September 1997