Australian solar companies fight to retain staff – pv magazine International

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Australian solar companies are reporting staffing shortages, leading to false pricing around the value of installers. Scott Mason, managing director of Platinum Solar Designs, says the shortages aren’t just part of the nation’s broader skills shortage; rather, they are endemic to the photovoltaic industry and are linked to regulatory issues.

Since american magazine

Australian solar companies are struggling to find workers, leaving some to pay up to 30% above normal wages to find candidates, while others are seriously overhauling their business strategies.

Andy McCarthy, CEO of RACV Solar, said his company – which has one of the largest in-house teams in the industry – has certainly tackled the problem. “Everyone has,” he said pv magazine australia.

McCarthy said shortages are so widespread that top members of his team are approached weekly by companies looking to hire.

The situation has led RACV Solar to pursue a series of measures. In April, the company acquired Cola Solar, having bought Great Ocean Solar and Electrical shortly before. These were, McCathy said, “capability acquisitions as much as pipeline acquisitions.”

That is to say, their workforces were among the most valuable assets of these companies. This approach, McCarthy noted, not only requires strong due diligence, but is really only available to companies large enough to shell out significant capital.

It’s a sentiment shared by Kosta Bourandanis, co-founder of the Solar Cutters industry group. He said american magazine that while large companies have been able to cope, smaller companies are struggling and some are even at a standstill, unable to find enough workers to meet demand.

One example is Platinum Solar Designs, a small, in-house-only solar company based on the south coast of New South Wales. “We’re stuck and we’ve been stuck now for about two years,” said chief executive Scott Mason, who previously founded and owned Australian Solar Designs. american magazine.

It is with the Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation system that Mason sees the real crux of the matter. To be precise, it’s not so much that Mason has trouble finding staff (although that’s also true), but rather that his company can’t keep staff.

The main reason for this retention problem, he says, is that as soon as young electricians complete their apprenticeship, they can become CEC-accredited installers within days. With this accreditation, they can make a lot more money contracting for big solar companies like Sunboost and Arise.

Why work for AUD45 ($32) an hour, Mason said, when it’s possible to earn up to $1,600 per job by setting up as a sole proprietor?

His company now has to monitor the amount of sales it makes because it refuses to use contractors – a practice Mason says that disables quality control.

“My business cannot grow because I only have a certain number of [Clean Energy Council] accredited people within my company and ultimately it falls on that number. I can only do a limited number of solar installations per week as I only have a limited number of CEC accredited solar installers. »

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