The Solar Engine is more than just an invention. It is a culmination of the life's work and experiences of Phil Wilson, who is a qualified Electronic Technician and has owned and operated Solar Daily Pty Ltd for over 10 years, with over 25 years total experience installing on and off grid solar energy systems. Phil discovered his passion for harnessing solar energy back in 1985 on his bush block in regional NSW when he installed a 300W kit from Electronics Australia magazine and built it up to a 1.84kW system with solar hot water. He has since gained solar accreditation and most recently became a Master Installer with the Clean Energy Council in 2016.
He became involved with the Nusa Tenggara Association (NTA) in 2019 after being introduced to them by his niece, Katie. The NTA are a non-profit charity organisation who have been dedicated to lifting the people of the East Nusa Tenggara Province of Indonesia (NTT) out of poverty for almost 30 years by providing agriculture infrastructure, clean water, food, education and more to over 10,000 people.
He volunteered to travel to the NTT in 2019 with a group of other volunteers to provide what assistance they could, and found quite a lot of the villagers had solar power systems complete with solar panels, batteries and sometimes even a small inverter. These systems were mainly used for basic LED lighting and USB charging, but quite often solar panels would be set up under trees with minimal sunlight which would lead to the batteries being drained, damaged and needing replacement quite frequently. During the trip, one of the volunteers drew upon Phil's own solar experience and enquired about the possibility of developing a "Solar Engine" for $500 per person.
Phil returned home inspired and got to work straight away researching this possibility and quickly found that it would indeed be possible and also found that there was nothing of its specific nature or potential available in Australia yet and thus the Solar Engine was born. Within 18 months, he had developed a prototype, registered the business and commenced the process of registering an Australian Innovation Patent, which was approved in May of 2021 (patent no. 2021101825).
Phil is looking forward to returning to Indonesia with the NTA to begin dispatching Solar Engines, each capable of providing power to up to 20 people to further improve the livelihoods of those in one of the poorest, most remote regions in the world. You can find out more about the NTA and how you can help out here.
Phil began offering Solar Engines to customers who were approaching him enquiring about small, off grid solar systems, many of whom had been living off a small generator for years. He quickly realised the potential of the Solar Engine as customers began to snap them up and word of mouth began to spread locally. One particular individual, who had lost everything in a bush-fire twice in a matter of a few years and resorted to living in a caravan with his wife and young daughter, running off only a small 3kW generator for over a year, saw the Solar Engine as a life changer and within a couple days, Phil had been to his property to set him up with a Solar Engine and 2.4kW of solar panels. You can see his review and many others here.
Expanding into the future
Phil has employed the assistance of long time friend David, who assists with the manufacturing and assembly of the Solar Engines and has so far helped to build over 30 units.
Phil has also approached his daughter Bree and her partner Zac to assist in the sales and direction of the business. Bree is the mastermind behind all the colourful and creative graphics you can see all over the Solar Engine website and marketing sphere, while Zac has taken charge of creating and maintaining this website, along with directing sales and marketing.
Together we are building a strong and caring family owned business which takes pride in helping our communities, people in need and doing our bit to help reduce Australia's carbon footprint.
We have structured our business around the following four principles:
- We are honest
- We do our best to help everyone we possibly can
- We love and take pride in what we do
- We always strive to continuously improve, both in our personal and professional lives