The re-birthing of the Australian Solar Energy Society (‘AuSES’) in Western Australia has taken one step closer to achieving posterity. Prof. Ray Wills, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (‘SEA’) joined the society as an individual member and formally joined our interim committee in Western Australia. We are now looking forward to creating a mutually benefitting vision for our two organizations.
Venture Capital – First Research Your Market
We recently held a meeting at SEA headquarters in Northbridge which was made available for a technical talk by Mr Andrew Hall, CEO of Bright Generation. Andrew talked about the role of venture capital in innovation and product development. His recommended key consideration for innovators, when taking a product to the market place was in the early stages was to base the capital investment on solid market research and test marketing.
Pull not Push
This made sense to the audience as a prudent procedure, before the big dollars are sought. Andrew explained that this process ensured that the market entry was “pull” driven rather than “push” driven, making it more likely for support by large investors. Then rapid expansion could safely occur. The quicker the ‘valley of death’ on the graphed innovation curve is breached, the smaller the risk and less capital is needed for ultimate success.
I think his advice of looking at investment as a two stage process starting with trial manufacturing, adaptation and assessing market responses with real products made a great deal of sense to me.
It is easy to see why Andrew is successful in the renewable energy field and we are fortunate to have him on our advisory committee in WA.
SEA Will Foster The AuSES Solar Mentors Programme
The great news for all Western Australian AuSES members is that, as a sponsor, The Sustainable Energy Association, through Ray Wills, will assist in the process of achieving the goals set for AuSES in WA. They will provide sponsorship for the Society on a trial basis and will assist with the growing of our individual memberships in this state.
The key plank for their support is the fostering of the solar mentors scheme and developing stronger links between students and young professionals, with experienced industry people and leading academics.
This planned cross-pollination of ideas between industry leaders and university people is bound to deliver healthy outcomes for the solar and renewable energy industries as well as individuals, who are looking at creating specialist careers for themselves.
Dr Bill Parker, and myself, along with the advisory committee, unanimously agreed to this path for Western Australia’s AuSES, at our first committee meeting.
Collaboration With SEA Events
This year we will start to plan collaboration with SEA events to introduce key experts who have had peer reviewed papers published. This will create more opportunities and exposure for our emerging scientists, professionals and innovators.
I believe that the focus should spread comfortably to each of the sites and I am sure that SEA will be most valuable in assisting this worthwhile process.
I envisage that within a year or two all states will benefit from the approach. We can recall the halcyon days when the CSIRO sponsored our society and for 20 years put Australia well and truly on the world map when it came to cutting edge technology in solar and renewable energy systems. Many of these technologies are still viable in this 21st century.
The next meeting is planned at Curtin University in June, the date and venue to be announced (around the winter solstice).
How You Can Help
Here are a few ideas: For all past, potential and existing members the key to our momentum and success will be two fold:
– Joining AuSES or continuing your membership for many years, as well as introducing new members to AuSES
– Encouraging as many student members as possible to join to take advantage of our mentor scheme, as brilliantly constructed by Dr. Mary Dale.
– Attend our meetings and networking events and bring younger guests !
Looking forward to our next meeting and ‘solar-beers’ networking event. Let’s keep the forward movement going. The next two generations are to be the beneficiaries.
Garry Baverstock AM President AuSES in WA
31st March 2011