Installers Need More Representation On The CEC Board: Vote Jack Hooper!

Jack Hooper - Gem Energy 2020 CEC Board Nominee

With that smile, how could you not vote for Jack?

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is a rich and powerful non-profit organisation that claims to represent Australia’s solar industry and solar installers.

If you want to have any influence on how the Clean Energy Council operates and who runs it, you need to have a vote. To have a vote with the CEC you must pay to be a member. The cheapest membership is for very small companies with less than 3 employees.

Very small companies can get annual ‘Network Membership’ for $630 per year. This buys you one vote.

If your company is any bigger, you need to at least pay for ‘Associate Membership’ at $3,650 per year. This buys you two votes.

If you want six votes, you can plop down $14,500 per year for ‘Corporate Membership’.

If you want a whopping 20 votes, you need to find $55,500 per year for a ‘Sponsoring Membership’.

As you might imagine, Corporate and Sponsoring members overwhelmingly represent ‘the big end of town’: companies like AGL, Commonwealth Bank and Energy Australia.

At time of writing, here is how the membership stands:

  • There are 17 Sponsoring and 143 corporate members – together the big end of town get 1,198 votes.
  • There are 184 Associate Members, 450 Network Members and 8 Emerging Members. They mostly represent the small and medium end of town and have 826 votes.
  • There are over 6,000 solar installers, who are not classed as members, representing the individual and small end of town. Rank and file installers get zero votes.

The Clean Energy Council are asking its members to vote for 5 new board members. Votes close at 3pm on the 28th November. You can learn more about the thirteen nominees (including Jack) here. Unsurprisingly, they mostly come from the big end of town.

The only nominee I can see who can truly represent the rank and file installers is Jack Hooper, CEO of GEM Energy. Jack has been a long-time client of SolarQuotes® and it has been a pleasure to watch him grow the business into a fantastic, ethical, quality-driven solar installation company.

In under 5 years, Jack has built GEM from a single person operation in regional Queensland to more than 50 staff, including 22 installers. They install everything from small residential solar power systems to large commercial PV; including this 545kW system on a hospital we wrote about in 2017.

I urge any CEC members who believe the the CEC urgently needs to be more installer-focused to vote for Jack Hooper:

  • Search your inbox for the phrase “CEC AGM 2019”.
  • Find your unique username and password
  • Go to this website
  • Click on ‘Web App’.
  • Enter meeting code 359-225-791
  • Enter your username and password
  • Vote Jack (and one other).

In my experience, Jack is one of the nicest and most professional guys in the solar industry – and will bust his ass to deliver better representation for quality-focused installers. For the Australian solar industry’s sake I really hope he can get on the Board. If he does I may even renew my Associate CEC membership next year…

Here’s Jack’s Pitch For Your Vote

There are thirteen nominees for the CEC board.  Have a look. Almost all of them represent ‘the big end of town’.

 

No other nominee will represent the rooftop residential and commercial solar industry like I will.

 

My company, GEM Energy started as a single person operation in regional QLD. We now employ over 50 staff including 22 installers,

 

I am on the front lines with other quality installers and see the difficulties we have competing with unethical operators and the ‘wifi bill buster specials’.

 

In my 10 years  in the industry, I’ve never seen quality this bad.  It’s time somebody stood up to do something about it.

 

On any commute, I can’t help but look at the solar installations on residential and commercial buildings. Unfortunately, in most cases I am left shaking my head.

 

The sheer volume of installations I see where solar panels are hanging over the ridge caps or the guttering, the clamping zones of the modules are incorrect or just poor workmanship represents more than 50% of the installations I see.

 

Where the manufacturers installation guidelines haven’t been met, the manufacturer does not have to warrant the hardware. Although, under Australian law the solar company that contracted the install must honour warranty claims – sadly this often does not happen.

 

The result is that, effectively consumers are left without a warranty from day 1. STCs are being generated and claimed on systems we can see are clearly non-compliant and unlikely to stand the test of time.

 

There are no barriers to entry in the solar market and no real mechanisms of controlling quality. The implications of this are far reaching.

 

What do I propose to do?

 

I would meet bi-monthly with industry professionals to discuss the lack of regulation in the roof-top market with the sole aim of cleaning up the industry and levelling the playing field. Simply, I want to make it harder for phoenix companies and companies trading unethically to continue to operate and claim STCs. For example: If you see companies that you know are reporting GST incorrectly, I want to know because I will do something about it. I want to establish a clear pathway to report unethical practices.

 

I hope to promote healthy competition for quality installers and therefore improve margins to sustainable levels.

 

I also want to act as a conduit for our industry when government rebate schemes are announced to avoid problems like we have seen with the roll out of the VIC rebate program.

 

There is a substantial gap between installers and the CEC and I want to help bridge that gapAs a paid up installer you don’t even get a vote unless you pay thousands for a higher level ‘membership’.

 

I don’t have all the solutions nor answers, not a single person does. However, by working together and listening to your feedback I can be a voice for our industry within the CEC. Something that doesn’t currently exist.

 

I don’t just want your vote, I want you to tell me what changes you want to see to make this industry better, cleaner and more sustainable.

 

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. Stefan Jarnason says

    Agree totally with voting for Jack!

    I also recommend a vote for Renate Egan, who in addition to be the chair of Solar Analytics and Australian PV Institute, has been a massive advocate for solar and DER in particular for 25 years.

    Renate’s extensive industry knowledge and ability to negotiate complex decisions would make her an outstanding Board member.

    * Experienced board member (GAICD qualified).
    * Broad experience in Australia, Germany and China, in private companies, NFPs, national and international agencies, Renate has led mergers, acquisitions, wind-ups and capital raisings.
    * Co-founder of five technology start-ups including Solar Analytics and Enosi
    Chair of the Australian PV Institute, represents Australia on IEA PV Power Program

  2. Hi,

    Maybe several installers could band together and buy 1 membership (designate 1 installer to be the actual member-taking it in turns each year). If enough do that, by working together, they would have an easy majority. More say in how the CEC operates.

    dRdoS7

  3. If the CEC is responsible for accreditation of retailers and installers, then consumer representation needs to be involved, to get ethics and standards established, and to require certification of designers, and, formalisation of procedures, including providing quotes.

    And, a proper and enforceable system of warranty coverage, also needs to be established.

    The industry desperately needs weeding out of the shonks, which appear to be widespread.

    The industry needs to be made reputable.

Speak Your Mind

*

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
%d bloggers like this: