Hugh Frame wanted to do his bit for the environment and install a solar carport at his home. Lo and behold, no company made such a thing.
So rather than taking no for an answer, the Wilton entrepreneur filled the gap in the market and has launched the first residential solar carport business in the country.
“I bought a classic car two years ago and needed another garage to store it,” Mr Frame said.
“I was shocked that I could not find a company who made them in Australia.
“I called around manufacturers who built commercial ones and asked whether they would build one for a residential property.”
Mr Frame’s quest led him to contact Powershade, a commercial solar carpark provider based in Melbourne.
The entrepreneur and company teamed up to design and manufacture carport kits.
“We have now launched to the market,” Mr Frame said.
“This is an innovative piece of technology now available in Australia.”
Previously, residents could not even purchase a solar carport from overseas because they did not meet Australian standards.
Mr Frame said Australia lagged behind other countries in generating electricity from the sun.
“In order of solar power capacity generated, Australia comes in at number nine,” he said.
“The top five solar energy-producing countries have been selling and erecting solar carports for some time.
“Solar carparks are becoming more common in Australian shopping centres.
“Now Australia has its first single and double solar carport kit for the residential/home market.
“Two basic kits have been released with some add-on options.
“The basic kits are a modern looking design with a seamless and slim-line finish that should enhance the value of any property.
“The single solar carport kit generates 3.9 kilowatts and the double at 5.8 kilowatts.
“Hopefully the introduction of Australia’s first solar kit will encourage people to think more efficiently on how to use our diminishing yard areas.”
Mr Frame said he was environmentally-conscious and moved to Wilton 11 years ago for the country lifestyle.
“My wife and I are big gardeners and the first thing we did at our home was put in a solar hot water system and solar panels on the roof,” he said.
“Having a solar carport seems like a sensible addition to many houses.”
Mr Frame said the carports started from $14,000 for a single structure and would require council approval.
“The kits are well-priced and are about the same cost of a new carport and a similar-size solar output system,” he said.
“It’s a structure that will eventually pay for itself in electricity generated.
“The power produced is normally linked to the household power box but a battery can also be installed and you can develop your own personal charging station for your new electric car.
“Like any carport, the structure can be used as a garden patio or gazebo, an interesting way of turning part of your garden into your household energy source.”
Mr Frame has developed a website for the business, Solar Carports Online, and will sell via the website.