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Solar Energy - Demand Soars For Zen’s Solar Power System


Leading Adelaide solar energy company, ZEN Home Energy Systems, has removed one of the key barriers for expansion in the residential market.

Home owners using the new Solar Home Loan Calculator can determine how to leverage their home equity to install solar power and gain a secure and cheap power source, said ZEN Home Energy Systems Chief Executive Officer, Richard Turner.

“We’ve known for some time now it is cheaper to produce your own energy at home than buy, but one of the biggest barriers facing householders is finding the cash to finance installation of a whole home solar energy system,” Mr Turner said.

“Currently the only other solar funding alternatives in the market are consumer finance packages which still can put strain on the household budget as the high interest rates offset the savings. But by using equity instead, you can effectively make the bank your power company with no change to household cash flow.” Turner added.

“The Solar Home Loan Calculator can show home owners how to take 10 years off an average mortgage and save up to $100,000 in interest payments,” said Turner. ZEN Home Energy Systems created the calculator in alliance with financial services Company, Bernie Lewis Home Loans.

ZEN’s fortunes have been riding high during the past 18 months, exceeding a budget sales forecast of 600 percent growth. “There’s huge demand for better quality energy solutions in metropolitan, regional and rural communities across Australia,” Mr Turner said.

Recently ZEN and the Local Government Association created the Solar Councils Community Program which provides residents with information on renewable energy solutions - particularly solar home energy and solar hot water systems.

The company is also expanding in the education sector. ZEN has been swamped with calls from South Australian schools wanting solar power systems under the national solar schools federal grant program. It is currently speaking with around 40 schools across South Australia and Mildura to install solar panels.

ZEN also provides its schools and customers with a unique Environment, Consumption and Generation (ZEN ECG) education module. The web-based program gives updated analysis of a school’s solar energy generation, consumption, solar module temperature and weather station readings. “It’s an important win-win for schools. While solar energy offsets power usage from the grid, students also get a practical and theoretical understanding of renewable energy,” he said.

In August ZEN introduced a new product - the 185W “Black Line” solar panels which combine strong design with more efficient cell technology producing more power at no extra cost.

“The new ZEN Black Panels will now become standard with all our systems,” Mr Turner said. “Their increased aesthetic value will appeal to an even wider market. The panels will look like a big flat black screen on your roof.”

ZEN’s marketing strategy is to position the company as a premium supplier of products and services in Australia.

“Our high quality solar panels are produced to our specifications by an industry leading manufacturer. Our installers are licensed electricians who hold Clean Energy Council qualifications and who have extensive training in our ZEN solar academy. They possess competencies well above industry standards,” he said.

“Unfortunately there are still some shonky operators in the market installing low quality systems with non-compliant trades people. We are pushing for stricter national standards as we don’t want a repeat of the ceiling insulation fiasco in the solar energy market,” he said.

ZEN’s turnover in 2007-08 was $500,000. That grew to $3 million in 2008-09 and hit $20 million in 2009-10. “The enormous demand for ZEN Home Energy Systems has us targeting turnover of up to $100 million this coming financial year, Mr Turner said.

“We are very careful that this growth is sustainable. Our focus in on quality rather than growth for growth’s sake,” he said.

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