pv magazine Australia: YEP has had a rapid rise since its launch in May 2019, obviously there was a need out there for YEP, what was it?
YEP: We saw how competitive the solar and energy market was but that there was not much consumer awareness of products and retailers available. We wanted to change that by launching Your Energy Partner (YEP) solar brokerage services. We assist the customer with all their paying points and find the best solution for their needs.
YEP’s success is remarkable considering it entered the market in Victoria during the solar rebate retailer debacle, how did YEP navigate those first months with a new business?
It was a very scary time as solar rebates were going so fast and at one point they were completely on hold for a number of months. We were thankful that Cameron Bell (co-founder) and I had a strategy of finding the right target market at this time. We utilised our network to partner with home builders across Victoria as well as pushing into New South Wales six months ahead of time. That was when we started to realise that we were onto something special.
YEP is very on top of social media, marketing itself on Instagram, Facebook, Tik-Tok, Google and LinkedIn, does this mean that you’re primarily fishing for a younger crowd? And that they’re biting…
As young founders under 35, we are across all social media platforms and we like to put a fun spin on our marketing campaign. For example, we have company wide Tik-Tok videos to promote our brand and making solar just a little bit more fun. Our demographic of people inquiring about solar are predominantly first home buyers, it’s amazing that the youth of today are very energy conscious and keen to make quick decisions on a solar solution. However we have still seen the average of enquiries fall between 30-60 year olds wanting to reduce their energy bill. Its a good sign regardless that people would like to make the change to solar .
YEP occupies the middle ground taking the stress off both customers and retailers, what does YEP do at each end?
This is the best part of YEP, and probably the most exciting part of our concept. When a customer inquires with YEP, we will scan the market for the best retailer/solution in their area. This involves explanations of rebates, incentives, and an ability to go in depth on each product offering. We then prepare all the contracts and engineering reports for both the client and retailer, overseeing the install from start to finish, ensuring it is a 5 star service because anything less than that is unacceptable in our eyes.
Could you provide an example of the kind of recommendation you might give to a customer and the kind of client you might supply to a retailer?
Each retailer has a unique proposition to our client, with this in mind we are able to find the best suited solution for our client. For example, one of our clients may want a battery, so we will search our pool of retailers for the best three solutions in our customer’s area. As all have unique selling points we will point out the advantages of each product and make recommendations. It’s very important for our retailers to have 3-5 different options so that they have the best chance to win the work from our clients.
Speaking of batteries, how is YEP is pushing the uptake of energy storage?
We are finding that 22% of our clients are buying a battery because the cost of electricity is increasing. So we have a strong partnership with sonnen Australia which we established earlier this year and we have been utilising their sonnen flat plan that gives customers the power on how to use their electricity. We have recommended all our retailers use this battery system as we have found our clients prefer it as a product. YEP is also currently in negotiations to bring out our very own VPP (virtual power plant) which is very exciting.
How do you pick which retailers you want to work with?
We only partner with retailers who have appropriate accreditation, such as Smart Energy Council (SEC) membership or the ASR program. We also seek recommendations from the SEC as we are a platinum member with the organisation, and they fantastic in recommending partners
YEP’s success means it is rapidly expanding, where can customers and retailers utilise YEP’s services?
YEP success has been overwhelming, our staff and our partners have been working really hard behind the scenes as well as an amazing uptake from our clients. This is why YEP is capital raising to bring on new shareholders and build YEP’s reach beyond anything the market has seen. We will be expanding our base of operations Australia wide, while also rolling out some exciting partnerships in New Zealand as well, we feel YEP can establish a very strong foothold across the ditch. YEP is always on the lookout for solar retailers to be apart of our journey and of course we are always available to service any new customers.
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