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History of Si Clean Energy

Noisy diesel generator

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 seven 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.

In his electronics repair service in town, Peter makes over a basic 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 mid 1990sPeter’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.

New kid on the block

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 into the house 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. 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.

Enter Lee

It is 2005. The business is growing. To the installation and servicing, the Bulanyis add importing and wholesale distribution of renewable energy products, in particular, grid-connect inverters. Large quantities of imported stock are purchased, 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 transformerless inverter technology that Peter identified as the most electronically efficient. Rejection becomes commonplace.

Enter Lee. Focus: marketing. With Peter’s technical expertise and Lee’s ingenious advertising, the business gains ground. By the end of 2010, through hard work and persistence, the company supplies the Australian market with over 60MW of grid-connect inverters. Transformerless inverters become the standard.

The future is bright

In little more than five years, the company becomes a resounding success, employing over 55 people, with warehousing and offices in Coffs Harbour, Perth and Melbourne. In 2011, as a reflection of its broadened capability, the business changes its name to “Si Clean Energy”.

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