Off-Grid Energy - How We Started


Written by Emily McMahon

Whether you have known Off-Grid Energy for years, days, or only minutes; you might not know the story of how we started.

Off-Grid Energy Australia was founded by Hugh Driscoll and Sean LePoidevin – with myself and our head technician Randal making up the founding team.

After years of running the off-grid department for Australia’s largest solar company, Hugh and Sean knew they wanted to help more people gain complete energy self-sufficiency.

So when the solar company closed its off-grid department to focus on the easier grid-connect solar market, Hugh & Sean decided to act – registering Off-Grid Energy Australia on a lunch break. Days later, with no savings or alternative incomes, they quit their jobs to run Off-Grid Energy full time.

Hugh & Sean, Off-Grid Energy Australia
Hugh & Sean from Off-Grid Energy Australia

The early days for any start up are a challenge. I had to juggle two jobs to keep us all fed, customer consultations were held at the local bakery, and the guys even slept on a solar panel in the back of the work van during a field day to save on accommodation.

Off-Grid Energy was founded with extreme enthusiasm, no sleep, and vegemite toast dinners.

Our office moved quickly from Hugh’s dining room and Randal’s garage, into the Tindo Solar Manufacturing Plant at Technology Park in South Australia.

Off-Grid Energy founders being congratulated by the Prime Minister of Australia

After a couple of years we grew too big and moved into a larger premises in Dudley Park, which is where our National Head Office and Workshop is located today.

We are incredibly proud to be an award-winning business, gaining a Telstra Australian Business Award win and EY Entrepreneur of the Year award, and we continue to double in size year-on-year.

Australian Business Award National Finalist
National Finalists for the Australian Business Awards

This year (2016) we have been selected as both a Tesla Authorised Reseller and Certified Installer, were one of the first ZCell Authorised Installers, and have expanded internationally with installations in New Zealand and Vanuatu.

The next phase of change in the energy industry in Australia is right on our doorstep – and battery storage is going to play a vital role in our energy transformation. We are very excited to be playing our part in this transition, and can’t wait to help Australia smash its renewable energy targets and decentralise its energy system.


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