Young Entrepreneur of the year, Leigh Storr, is pleased to be in the fastest growing sector of the fastest growing industry.
“The only constraint on our growth, right now, is a lack of investment capital,” he told The Generator.
“In America investors would be throwing money at a company like BioSolar, in Australia, the financial institutions see rapid growth and call it risk.”
According to Storr, the secret to his growth is high-quality panels, components and installations and a focus on affordability. He achieves that by providing customers with a payment plan to keep up-front costs down, and rigorous attention to cashflow in his business.
“Many solar companies are selling incentives and are vulnerable to the whims of government policy. As governments slash incentives, our business has soared.”
He explains that customers have simply done the numbers on their power bill.
“If power prices continue to rise at 12.5% p.a. over the next ten years, the average Australian will spend an entire year of their work life, just paying for electricity.”
BioSolar now employs over 400 people and has invested in a workplace culture that has earned it the nickname ‘Google of the Gabba’. It has a vegan cafe, cinema and gym on premises and an independent yoga studio on-site. The company has a major operational centre in Darra and offices in NSW and Victoria.
Storr believes the current focus on propping up the fossil fuel industry will cost the Australian economy dearly as other countries shift to cheap, distributed energy and unleash innovation.
Before the end of the year, BioSolar will be selling low cost battery technology and generators that will allow homes and businesses to be independent of the grid (see Guerilla Disconnection below).
He points to companies like Google in the USA who are independent of the grid, precisely because they need to guarantee their electricity supply and control their electricity costs.
CONSUMER PROTECTION BY GUERRILLA DISCONNECTION
The challenge for the electricity industry, recently exposed by Four Corners and The Monthly, is that the cost of the infrastructure for fossil fuel generated electricity is increasing as fewer customers need it. As a result the service charges on your electricity bill have increased much faster than the charges for the electricity itself. Not content with printing false statements blaming these costs on environmental regulation in large red letters on their bills, electricity companies are now lobbying governments to further penalise owners of solar panels with higher connection charges. The price paid for solar generated electricity is already a ridiculously low 4 cents per kilowatt and the amount of electricity that can be supplied to the grid has been capped by export limiters.
The best protection for consumers, according to BioSolar owner and CEO, Leigh Storr, is to disconnect from the grid altogether.
He said that consumers can achieve this, by simply notifying their provider of an imminent disconnection date, online. On that date, the consumer throws the switch on the export limiter and the utility records no further use.
“What are they going to do? Drive around and issue fines for people who have the lights on without being registered to a fossil-fuel-powered generator?”
He thinks the crunch will come at the end of 2017 when the cost of being connected to the grid will exceed the cost becoming self-sufficient.