A sustainable and holistic approach equals award-winning success for Country Solar
After working for years in the oil and gas industry, Jeremy Hunt decided that he and his family needed a change of pace. And his passion for living in a more low cost, sustainable and holistic way has since translated into a successful, award-winning business.
Country Solar supplies and installs solar products for both residential and business customers. Based in Darwin, they are the largest installer in the Northern Territory. Accredited by the Clean Energy Council, Country Solar has grown from a business operating out of Jeremy’s home into one of the top-ranked PV solar installers in Australia.
“Everyone in the company has the same philosophy,” Jeremy confirms. “It’s all about working towards a greener energy system, helping our customers with their overheads, whether they’re business or residential.”
Country Solar stands out from its competitors by taking a completely upfront approach with its customer base. Prices are always published, and they contain no hidden costs – everything is included in the overall price. Jeremy also credits their methods of providing a great customer experience with their success. “Management is done in one office, so for a residential customer, they can walk in, start a conversation about wanting solar, and we can schedule a site visit and take care of all the paperwork and their installation right through to the end,” he says. “And that’s a change from what often happens, where the customer might talk to a salesperson, who sends the information to someone else, then a different person turns up, there’s subcontractors… you don’t really know where you stand. So that’s been a driver for our residential customers.”
For business and local government clients, Jeremy says that their offerings and after-sales service is what makes them stand out. “They can rely on us for after-sales support, care and maintenance,” he explains.
The company’s commitment to holistic, sustainable energy saw them take out the 2015 Telstra Business Award - Northern Territory Medium Business Award, an achievement Jeremy says is both impressive and humbling. “We weren’t expecting to make the local finals, let alone win the overall award,” he admits. “Some of the other businesses had been around for a long time, and were really impressive in their own right, so as a first-time entrant you almost feel embarrassed to win the award. But it certainly makes everyone feel good, it’s been a real morale booster.”
When asked about the future of Country Solar, Jeremy says “there are a lot of growth areas, the industry’s still maturing, and we’re growing with it. The next big phase for the home owner will be integrating battery storage and becoming more self- sufficient in their own house. And again, that’s along the holistic lines, people moving away from having a grid connection or backup system.”
Looking back to the start of the business, Jeremy admits there are some things he’d do differently. “Advertising is one,” he says. “I’d hire someone who knows marketing a lot better than I did. In the early days, we had some issues there. We had an electrical contractor writing advertisements, and that certainly didn’t work too well.”
For anyone thinking of starting their own business, one that’s focused on sustainability, Jeremy has some words of wisdom. “Know your market,” he advises. “Choose how you’re going to start, and be clear with your vision.”
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