How it started
In 2016 long-time friends Elliot Hayes and Beau Savage (pictured) co-founded Smart Energy after having worked in solar since finishing school.
With the goal of harnessing Australia’s sun, one rooftop at a time, the company now averages more than 100 installations a week.
Smart Energy now has offices across Byron Bay, Newcastle, Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide, Wollongong, and Brisbane, following a growth surge in 2020.
Being self-funded without external investment, the co-founders had to be tight on cash flow to ensure the business grew. That included a cash crunch in 2018, when the business had $1 million worth of installations booked for the following week, with only $150,000 in operating capital to cover it.
“Luckily we snuck through that period and out the other side after some difficult negotiations for credit with our main suppliers. We still work with them today,” the co-founders say.
Where to next?
Smart Energy is now in the process of expanding into the USA, taking advantage of Joe Biden’s goal of achieving 50% solar power by 2050. The first stop is Texas, a state they say is 15 years behind Australia in terms of solar energy.
They say solar is also a way for people stricken by recent hurricane events to have reliable power when the state is experiencing blackouts.
The co-founders tell SmartCompany they’ll exit the business “when the stop stops shining”.