Startup UPowr chose last year to enter the solar market. With nearly 1000 clients that was probably a good call.
Fitting a home with solar and batteries can be an intimidating experience for customers, often with a variety of contractors responsible for kit design, installation and ongoing maintenance.
That’s one of the reasons UPowr entered the market as a digital end-to-end clean energy provider for homes and small businesses.
The company was started by Dan Friedman and Stuart Philpot in 2018, who while working within the innovation arm at AGL, noticed that it was hard to take renewable energy propositions to customers in a scalable way.
The pair spent a couple of years building the digital platform, which manages the whole solar experience, from modelling the best orientation for solar panels to ongoing support. It went live in January last year.
In 12 months the company has taken on almost 1000 customers, and grown into a team of 10 in the office and 120 vetted contractors across four states.
According to chief executive and cofounder Stuart Philpot, the plan is to keep scaling up the business in 2021, with plans to bring on five more staff this year.
Mr Philpot told The Fifth Estate that handling the customer experience from start to finish comes with assurance of quality and ongoing support. This is important in an industry that has grown quickly and subsequently been plagued by poorly performing equipment and concerning fire safety issues.
The other benefit of being a one-stop-shop is it’s easier to offer customers emerging energy innovations that might save them money, such as demand response or orchestration.
Maintaining an ongoing relationship with the customer means it’s easier to keep adding value, chief customer officer Kiya Taylor said.
Ms Taylor said that many these next-generation distributed energy opportunities are still very new, and difficult for people to understand and navigate.
“There’s a real opportunity to communicate with customers in a clear way,” Mr Philpot added.