1989. Peter and Lee Bulanyi and their young family are living on a property near Dorrigo, in the NSW Northern Tablelands. With the nearest power pole kilometres away, their electricity is supplied by a diesel generator. Fed up with the generator’s noise and fumes and having to refuel it at the most inopportune times, Peter starts looking for a new source of electricity.
At his electronics service centre in Dorrigo, Peter is approached to repair solar power system. The word spreads and a new business is born. Peter starts supplying inverters and solar panels and then designing, supplying and installing complete off-grid systems.
By the mid 1990s Peter’s business, “Solar Inverter Services”, is receiving a stream of work from all parts of the country. Over the next decade Peter repairs thousands of off-grid inverters and offers high-level technical support to system owners in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
In the late 1990s a revolutionary solar power system appears. Without a battery, the system connects solar panels to the grid via an inverter. The sun hits the panels, power flows directly into the house appliance via the inverter and any excess power goes back into the grid.
The system is a novelty and the bulk of Peter’s work continues to come from off-grid customers and servicing inverters from all over Australia and Asia. In 2003 the Bulanyis move to the coast where Peter notices his clients’ concern with climate change. The grid-connect system rises in popularity as the public embraces solar power as a means to reducing their carbon footprint and energy cost.
It is 2005 and the service and installation side of the business is growing. Up until this time Peter has been able to run the business himself but now needs help and Lee leaves her day job to help in admin and marketing. They both now decided that it is time to add importing and wholesale distribution of renewable energy products to the business, in particular, grid-connect inverters.The first shipment of inverters arrive from Europe and the business is incorporated and the name revised to “Solar Inverters Pty Ltd”.
The timing should have been right. Yet, the market is small and reluctant to try the latest technology which back then was a transformerless inverter.
Transformerless inverters have now become the standard form of inverter installed in Australia and around the world.
With Peter’s technical expertise and Lee’s ingenious advertising, the business gains ground. By the end of 2011, through hard work and persistence, the company supplies the Australian market with over 60MW of grid-connect inverters. Market share accelerates to 20%, meaning that 1 in 5 inverters being sold into solar power installations in Australia came via their Coffs Harbour warehouses.
As the installation side of the business was growing at such a fast rate it needed someone to manage all the installation teams. Kris (oldest son) was asked if he would like a change from his audio engineering profession in Sydney and to come and work as the installation manager. Peter and Lee also enticed their youngest son Ben away from his earth moving business to join the business and be one of their apprentice electricians.
Kris stayed for a while but the call of the big city was too great and he decided to pursue his audio career in the UK.
Ben stayed and after a while he became the installation manager/lead electrician and has held the role now for over 10 years. As part of the business Ben has also worked on some of the largest solar farms around Australia installing and commissioning inverters for these projects.
Peter and Lee Bulanyi are still the owners of this great family business and stays true to their beliefs, providing the best possible products and great customer services.
As the renewable energy sector changed the business name also evolved. Many people had assumed the name Solar Inverters meant that the business was only associated with inverters. Peter and Lee then decided to choose a new business name to reflect their diversity and Si Clean Energy was created.
Si Clean Energy operates mainly in the wholesale renewables sector across Australia and as their local installation business grew it became an issue with their wholesale customers so they decided to split the company into two and renamed the installation side of the business to Mega Watt Power.
Many local customers still refer to them as Si when they call for assistance or upgrades to their existing solar systems. This clearly demonstrates the value of using a local company when installing your solar power system.
With the business now heavily focused on installation and projects with over 3000 residential and 2MW of Commercial solar power systems installed to date (2018) their reputation and dedication continues to grow.
It’s a success story they have worked hard to earn, and continue to improved on every day.
Mega Watt Power: Installation business
Si Clean Energy: Online wholesale distributor.
Peter and Lee strongly believe that having the two companies is the best way to provide ongoing support for all their installation customers, old and new.
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