Danny Kennedy

2 May 2013 — The TEDxSydney conference is happening this Saturday May 4 at the Sydney Opera House.

Australian solar entrepreneur Danny Kennedy spoke with us in the lead-up to his TED speech, which will implore Australia to stay the course with what he terms the “rooftop revolution”.

Danny began a life of environmental activism at the tender age of 12, helping to oppose the Franklin Dam in Tasmania. Now he helms a rapidly growing solar company, Sungevity, which has pioneered the concept of solar leasing in the US residential market. Leasing provides solar systems for no upfront cost, opening the market to those who can’t afford the high capital cost.

“We’re democratising the adoption of solar,” said Kennedy. “Solar leasing has shifted solar in the US from wealthier customers to middle and lower income families.”

Sungevity opened its Australian operation in March and is offering a $0 upfront pay-as-you-go system similar to the US leasing arrangement.

Danny has created a high profile in the solar industry by helping get solar panels on the White House and locally on the roof of the Sydney Theatre Company.

The appearance at TEDx coincides with a new report from the Centre for Policy Development, which finds that Australia faces bill shocks of up to $250 a year for the average household if we don’t invest in rooftop solar.

Other notable speakers at TEDxSydney include artist Joost Bakker, engineer and Young Australian of the Year Marita Cheng, soldier-turned-environmental activist Damian Mander, designer Marc Newson and architect Paul Pholeros.

TEDxSydney aims to be the Asia Pacific region’s leading platform for the propagation of ideas, storytelling, creativity and innovation.