Future-proofing your home with Dean Edmonds

Fast read

Dean Edmonds' journey into solar began with his fascination with electricity and a rigorous apprenticeship, leading to his certification as an electrician. Transitioning into the solar industry, he gained diverse experience, eventually establishing his own business focused on solar installations.

Dean prioritises quality, ethical practices, and customer satisfaction, catering to environmentally conscious customers. He strongly advocates for high-quality solar systems over cheaper alternatives, emphasising their long-term benefits. Dean employs in-house staff for installations, offers educational insights on technology choices, and expertly addresses shading challenges.

After-sales service is a top priority for his business. His commitment to ethics, customer education, and quality workmanship sets him apart in the industry.

Dean Edmonds at YEA Podcast EP6

Dean’s journey into solar:

Dean shares his journey into the field of solar installations, beginning with his fascination with electricity. He discusses how this interest led him to pursue an apprenticeship with a local company in Penrith. The apprenticeship was a formative experience where he honed his electrical skills over three years of technical education at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) and four years of on-the-job training. This intensive training allowed him to become a certified electrician. Providing a solid foundation for his future career in the solar industry.

The role of apprenticeship:

Markus further explores Dean’s apprenticeship, inquiring about any memorable or amusing experiences during this period. Dean reflects on his apprenticeship days, recalling that while he didn’t encounter any extreme pranks or fetch-non-existent tools situations, he did grapple with challenging tasks and occasionally ended up with less desirable assignments. Despite these challenges, Dean’s determination and commitment to learning kept him focused on his goal.

Transition to the solar industry:

Dean opens up about his transition into the solar industry after becoming a certified electrician. He explains that he worked for various companies, gaining valuable experience along the way. He particularly mentions a small solar start-up that significantly expanded during his tenure. However, the company eventually faced financial difficulties and went out of business. Dean’s proactive attitude and keen observation skills led him to open his own business, initially trading as ESmart Electrical. Eventually, he decided to focus entirely on solar installations.

The importance of running his own business:

Markus delves into Dean’s motivation for running his own business rather than working for someone else. Dean elaborates on his desire to take control of his career and provide customers with a superior experience. He emphasises that observing some solar sales companies falling short in terms of customer satisfaction was a driving force behind his decision. By running his own business, Dean has the autonomy to prioritise quality, customer service, and ethical practices.

dean edmonds discussing his solar experience

Understanding customer demographics:

Dean provides insight into the demographics of his customer base. He notes that a significant portion of his clientele consists of environmentally conscious individuals aged 30 and older, including retirees. These customers place a strong emphasis on the overall outcome and quality of the solar system rather than merely seeking the lowest price. Dean’s understanding of his customer demographics helps him tailor his services to meet their specific needs and preferences.

Quality vs. cheap solar systems:

Dean delves into the critical issue of quality vs. cheap solar systems. He emphasises the paramount importance of investing in high-quality solar solutions rather than opting for cheaper alternatives. Dean passionately discusses the potential pitfalls associated with purchasing low-quality systems, where customers may face numerous issues over time. These issues, such as underperforming panels or unreliable inverters, can lead to frustrations and financial burdens that far outweigh the initial cost savings. Dean ardently advises against compromising on quality based solely on price, stressing the long-term benefits of investing in a reliable, well-designed solar system.

In-house staff vs. subcontractors:

Dean sheds light on ESmart Solar’s commitment to employing in-house staff for solar installations rather than relying on subcontractors. He explains that this approach offers several advantages, including better quality control, accountability, and improved after-sales service. Dean reflects on past experiences where subcontractors failed to deliver on promised installations, leaving homeowners dissatisfied and highlighting the risks associated with subcontracting in the industry.

Microinverters vs. Power Optimisers:

Markus and Dean engage in a detailed discussion regarding the microinverters vs. power optimizers debate in the solar industry. Dean refrains from showing a preference for one technology over the other, emphasising that the choice depends on individual site conditions and customer preferences. He is committed to educating customers about the pros and cons of each technology, allowing them to make informed decisions tailored to their specific requirements.

dean and markus discussing microinverters and DC optimisers

Challenges of shading:

Dean acknowledges the unique challenge of shading in the Blue Mountains and Penrith area. He explains that his company approaches each site individually, carefully assessing the shading conditions. Dean and his team then select the appropriate technology, whether it’s string inverters, DC-optimized systems, or microinverters. Effectively mitigating shading issues and maximising solar system performance.

The value of after-sales service:

Dean underscores the significance of after-sales service in the solar industry. He emphasises that solar customers may encounter issues or require adjustments over time, making ongoing support essential. ESmart Solar is dedicated to providing comprehensive after-sales assistance to ensure customers derive maximum value from their solar systems. This commitment to post-installation service sets ESmart Solar apart and contributes to its excellent reputation in the industry.

Battery storage and electric vehicles (EVs):

Markus and Dean delve into the topics of battery storage and EV charging. Dean explains that the payback period for batteries varies depending on factors such as time-of-use (TOU) tariffs and individual motivations. He highlights the potential financial benefits of batteries, particularly when used in conjunction with TOU tariffs. Customers can store excess energy during off-peak hours and sell it back to the grid during peak times, potentially resulting in significant cost savings.

Dean also recommends a personalised approach for customers considering both solar and EVs. This approach involves a thorough analysis of their energy consumption patterns, charging habits, and long-term goals. By tailoring solutions to individual needs, Dean ensures that customers receive the most effective and efficient solar and battery systems for their unique circumstances.

Educating customers:

Dean emphasises the importance of educating customers about their energy consumption and the impact of their decisions. He encourages customers to actively monitor their energy usage, adopt energy-efficient behaviours, and make informed choices that align with their sustainability and financial goals. Dean believes that an informed customer is more likely to make decisions that maximise their savings and environmental benefits, ultimately leading to a more successful solar installation.

The ethics of selling solar:

Markus raises the ethical considerations in the solar industry, asking whether Dean ever feels tempted to prioritise sales over the customer’s best interests. Dean firmly asserts that eSmart Solar places customer satisfaction and ethical business practices at the forefront of its operations. He explains that the company’s commitment to integrity extends to recommending lower-cost options if they are more suitable for the customer’s needs, even if it means a smaller scale. Dean’s dedication to ethical practices and customer-centric decision-making underlines his commitment to building trust and delivering value.

markus still shot in podcast

Common industry practices:

Markus and Dean engage in a hypothetical exploration of common industry practices that may compromise quality in the pursuit of cost savings. They discuss shortcuts such as subpar roof attachments, the use of non-durable cable ties, and the installation of low-quality racking systems. Dean acknowledges that such practices can indeed lead to problems down the line. This highlights the industry-wide importance of prioritising quality workmanship, materials, and safety in solar installations.

The role of racking:

Dean places significant emphasis on the role of racking systems in a solar installation’s long-term success. He discusses how eSmart Solar meticulously evaluates racking systems to ensure they meet high standards of durability, reliability, and safety. By carefully selecting and installing racking components, Dean and his team minimise the risk of issues arising over time, thereby enhancing the longevity and performance of solar systems.

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