Life on the SolarCoaster: the highs, lows, and the hilarious!

Posted by
Alex
Jun 19, 2018

When an innovative start-up enters the market and threatens to disrupt the status quo; rivals, competitors and haters tend to grab their pitchforks. join us in having a laugh at some of the funny experiences we've had along our start-up journey.

Start-up life, it’s a rollercoaster!

ShineHub’s model is different to anything Australia has ever seen before. The response from the communities we visit is always amazing. We’re at our highest when we receive amazing testimonials like this one from Anne at our recent our Geelong Community Solar Event:

"Just a quick note to say what a useful and informative night… It was so good to be able to speak with someone who was unbiased and gave me an honest answer without feeling like I was going to be pressured into buying something.

Evenings like this enable all those in the community who have been thinking about solar somewhere to turn and speak to trusted unbiased informed people - to enable them to make an informed decision. A huge thank you to you and everyone involved in putting this together.”

In less than 2 years we’ve helped over 500 homes go solar, so we’re definitely making some waves in the communities we visit! Amongst all the highs, there’s been some funny (and sometimes unfortunate) moments along the way.

You know what they say - sometimes if you don’t laugh, you might cry. So, please join us in having a laugh at some of the funny experiences and interesting ‘characters’ we have met along our start-up journey.

The Imitators

Earlier this year we held a Community Solar Program along the Limestone Coast of South Australia. Mid-way through the campaign we received a phone call from a woman asking about the progress on her solar system order. She said that someone from ShineHub had doorknocked her home and she had placed an order with them. We never doorknock. We think it’s an invasion of privacy, so we instantly knew that something wasn’t adding up. It soon became apparent that we had some ‘Imitators’ on our hands.

In every community we visit, we find rival solar companies literally pretending to be us. They see that we are onto a good thing and decide to try their luck at stealing our identity. They phone people, they doorknock, we have even had some turn up to our events to try and con our guests into signing up with them. During our Limestone Coast campaign, we were forced to make an announcement reminding our guests to only speak with staff wearing ShineHub t-shirts!

Our Imitators are so shameless we almost feel like taking our hats off to them for giving it a go – imitation is the greatest form of flattery after all.

That said, just because they are giving it a go doesn’t mean that they are one of the carefully vetted partners that we’ve selected to work with for each Community Solar Program.

The Phonies

We’ve just wrapped up our most successful Community Solar Program yet in the greater Geelong area, with nearly 2,000 people registering interest in the program. Despite the campaign being an incredible success, we encountered some interesting resistance.

One company in particular went to great lengths in an attempt to discredit us. They wrote to all of our community partners falsely claiming that we had no certifications and no engineers on our team. They even claimed that we were not working with local companies.

The reality is, we pride ourselves on the engineering expertise of our team. We are licenced and insured so that we can provide the extra layer of warranty protection that customers love. We also have a super slick software platform that allows us to offer insanely low prices, as well as a quality assurance process, extra warranty protection and full energy monitoring with every installation.

Our Community Solar Campaigns always receive fantastic coverage and support from local media. But, when the coverage is too good, the phonies emerge! Again, these are usually (always) just rival solar companies in disguise. They are great at masquerading as concerned local residents.

We’ve had phonies call up the local papers and pretend to be dissatisfied elderly local residents. Others just love to come along to our local events to heckle and shout profanities. We’ve even had rival companies purchase full page ‘advertorials’ and used them to publish a whole bunch of lies about us.

The Spoke-Too-Sooners

Our very first Community Solar Program was held in the Northern Rivers of NSW. We commenced the campaign by finding and vetting some of the best local solar companies to handle our installations. Upon ringing one company, they responded by promptly slamming the phone down in our ear. We shrugged this off and marked them as ‘not interested’. A few weeks into (the highly successful) campaign, we received an email from the same company complaining that we had not given them the chance to participate. We affectionately named this group of premature-critics the ‘Spoke-too-Sooners’. Let this be a lesson for all of us – not everyone is a telemarketer!

The Bandwagon Riders


As soon as we pick up momentum in the communities we visit, rivals always do their best to jump on the bandwagon! In fact, just last night we saw another competitor in Geelong trying to plug a solar program that appears to be virtually identical to ours. Upon digging a little deeper it is clear that this ‘Bandwagon Rider’ has replicated our messaging in an attempt to promote their inferior solar offerings, without the community give back, battery trained installers, and extra layer of warranty support that we offer. We can’t blame them for trying, but this sneaky behaviour can be confusing for our customers. Always make sure you keep an eye out for our logo to ensure you’re talking with us and not a rival wrapped up in ShineHub marketing!

In Conclusion

ShineHub just wants to make solar and battery technology affordable and accessible for all Australian households, we definitely don’t want drama! But, we don’t let it get us down. In fact, it’s the ultimate motivation and reminder that we’re making a significant difference. As we continue to grow, expand and have a wonderful response from the communities we visit, we know we are well on our way to achieving this goal.

But, if you want the facts about what ShineHub has to offer, we recommend getting it straight from the horse’s mouth – you never know when you could be talking to the wife of one of our rivals pretending to be an 80-year-old retiree!

About the Author

Alex 1 followers

Alex is a home energy expert with experience across virtually every area of the industry, ranging from energy efficiency and smart home gear to the latest solar and battery technologies. As co-founder of ShineHub, he is responsible for delivering the best digital experience in the industry for customers as well as managing customer-facing communications.

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