Solar energy is practically the cleanest source of power available and is rapidly growing in popularity. Empyreal Energy International is a family owned Australian solar company which has installed a large number of solar units for residential and commercial customers. The company, which was set up by the Graham brothers, Paul, Josh and Sam, has expanded rapidly and has earned a strong reputation for its high quality installations.
Empyreal Energy started by fitting solar energy systems in residential homes. From the inception of the business, the company gained customers by demonstrating that installing solar energy systems would result in lower electricity costs. A great deal of time and effort was expended on conducting seminars mainly rural areas in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
The seminars served to educate customers on the advantages of using solar energy and on the developments in the market. As a result of this effort by Empyreal Energy, an awareness was created about the range of products available and how each of them could be of great benefit in reducing pollution and lowering electricity costs at the same time. If any of the participants in the seminars showed interest in the products, one of the company’s Consultants would visit them and design a solution best suited to their needs.
Investment by the Hanwha Group of South Korea
The success of Empyreal Energy has attracted a lot of attention within the industry and about a year ago, the Hanwha Group of South Korea bought a 40% stake in Empyreal Energy International. The Hanwha Group is the tenth largest business conglomerate in South Korea, with a focus on petrochemicals, advanced materials manufacturing and solar power. They have invested in Empyreal Energy with the aim of entering Australia’s home based solar power retail market.
In 2012 the Hanwha Group had bought Q Cells, which is a reputed German company and the world’s largest manufacturer of premium quality solar cells. The purchase of a stake in Empyreal Energy by Hanwha makes eminent business sense as Empyreal Energy is the largest seller of Q Cells in Australia.
Rapid Growth in the Company
Paul Graham, Managing Director, Empyreal Energy Limited, speaks about the expansion of the company’s operations and its area of focus, “Major growth took place from 2010 onwards as we conducted a number of seminars to market our product and we also had a lot of business based on the referrals that we received.
“We had happy clients referring their friends and family. Government legislation also played a role in our growth, as feed-in tariff was introduced. Under feed-in rules, any solar power generated in a residence or an office which was not used was permitted to be sold back to the grid.
“This provided a big incentive for our customers to install solar power systems and led to our expansion. At that time we also moved into the commercial sector and we did a number of large projects with customers like the TGA Pastry Company, a lot of farms and different sorts of businesses including production and retail.”
Sales Process and Installation of Solar Power Systems
One of the main reasons for the success of Empyreal Energy is that it functions as a solution based company, rather than just a solar energy system supplier. When it approaches a potential customer who has shown interest in getting a solar energy system installed, a detailed analysis is conducted regarding the customer’s specific needs.
The Empyreal Energy Consultant examines the electricity bill of the customer closely to understand the pattern of power consumption. An inspection of the rooftop is also carried out to determine its suitability for placement of solar panels. After this entire process is over, an end to end solution is offered. Upon its acceptance, Empyreal Energy makes a ‘Happy Call’ to the customer when they are welcomed to the family and presented with a ‘Welcome Pack’.
Within a period of about two weeks, a Manager from Empyreal Energy gets in touch with the customer and introduces the installation team. All installers are direct employees of the company and sub-contractors are not used. In fact, Sam Graham, the youngest amongst the three Graham brothers, is an installer.
After the installation is complete, a detailed handing over process is followed, when the customer is shown how the system operates and how to take readings from the inverter. The company’s call number is issued to the customer so that they can establish contact with Empyreal Energy if required. At the conclusion of the process, another ‘Happy Call’ is made to ensure that all aspects of the solar energy system installation are complete.
After a period of six to twelve months, Empyreal Energy personnel re-establish contact to ascertain how the system is working and to ask whether the customer can refer any friends or family who would like a similar installation. From the first contact onwards, Empyreal Energy works towards simplifying matters for the customer. It communicates constantly and consciously works towards creating happy customers who have had an enjoyable experience dealing with Empyreal Energy.
Empyreal Energy’s Business is Built on Strong Business Relationships
Paul Graham says that the success of Empyreal Energy is based on the mutual respect and trust that the company has built with its business partners over the years. He says, “We have a very good relationship with Hanwha who bought into our company last year. We are also close to Q Cells Australia, from whom we source solar cells of the highest quality.
“SMA are our suppliers of inverters and their Sunny Boy brand commands the greatest respect in the market. We also work closely with Aurora Energy who is a reputed electricity retailer owned by the state government.
“We have done an installation for the TGA Pastry Company, who is very happy with the savings that they are generating. Red Earth Energy Storage is also a very important business associate of ours. We are part owners in that company.
“We do a lot of business through certegy ezi-pay. This is the company we use for the Empyreal Energy customers who wish to finance the purchase of their solar energy system. Another business associate of ours is TPC Finance, which is a leasing company and we use it for leasing panels to clients. Diamond Energy, a retailer of power who promotes renewable energy is closely associated with us.”
Expertise in Solar Power
Empyreal Energy has established itself as the premium provider of solar power systems in Australia. It has the distinct advantage of using components supplied by the leaders in their respective fields. Q Cells, a German company which manufactures the solar cells that are used in Empyreal Energy’s installations is amongst the best in the world. They provide unmatched efficiency and more power yield than competing products.
The solar panels that Empyreal Energy installs come with a 25 year warranty and meet strict international guidelines. Additionally, the company’s installers are highly qualified and licensed.
The inverters used by Empyreal Energy are sourced from SMA, another German company. Their products enjoy a very strong reputation and the Sunny Boy brand of inverters is recognised as the ideal choice for solar energy systems.
When customers retain Empyreal Energy, not only do they get a supplier of best in class components, they receive the benefit of the expertise and knowledge that the company has gathered over the years of its operations. Assistance is provided to the customers with the paperwork required for the Government solar credit scheme, which provides funding when solar power is generated.
This incentive is provided by the Government in the form of Renewable energy Certificates (RECs), which help offset the cost of the solar power installation and result in substantial savings for the customer.
The company expends great effort in building trust and a strong relationship with its customers. This approach has led to large volumes of referral business where satisfied customers are glad to share their experience and the savings they are making by using solar power. Empyreal Energy ensures the quality of the entire process from when its consultant first meets the customer to the communications with the client, the actual installation process and the technical competence of the installers as well.
The company’s engineers and electricians are also very capable and deliver the highest quality work. The roofers that Empyreal Energy utilise are experts in their field. In fact, the entire package that the company offers is of a premium quality.
The scope for solar energy in Australia is very great. The government is also keen that homes and businesses adopt green technologies as this will result in a reduction in global warming and cleaner air. Empyreal Energy is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity as it has earned a strong reputation in the solar energy sector in Australia. Its association with the best brands has also played a large part in its success.
Speaking about the future of the company, Paul Graham says, “We want to be the largest solar company in Australia while maintaining our roots as a family based company. We want to keep true to our beliefs and our vision, which is helping residential customers and business owners save on their energy costs.”