Smart Energy Answers’ Chief Executive Daniel Lanzetta has been at the helm of the company since 2018. He moved to Australia from Italy in 2011 after studying in Europe, earning degrees in computer engineering and a master’s in electronic and management engineering.
Daniel built on his technical knowledge, developing practical expertise through seven years of experience in the Australian solar power industry, before accepting his leadership role at SEA.
Daniel’s hands-on approach to leadership and passion for accelerating the uptake of renewable energy sees him directing business development, while overseeing sales and marketing, products and partnerships.
He took the time to sit down and share some insights into the state of play in Australia’s solar energy industry, adaptability and accountability, inspiration, passion, people power and what it takes to spark a renewable energy revolution.
Having steered the company through one of the more unpredictable and economically challenging periods in recent memory, Daniel highlights the need for adaptability and resilience through adversity.
“The last two years have been worth ten years, in terms of experience,” he commented.
“With the constant new rules and restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdowns and the rain this past summer, there’s been plenty of challenges.”
“When you’re making decisions with the welfare of 35-45 staff in mind, it’s important to be measured, to remain flexible and to be constantly strategizing.”
SEA experienced a period of 250% growth through the latter half of 2018 and early 2020, which saw expansion of operations in Victoria, South Australia and ACT.
After moving company HQ to a new head office in December 2020 in Castle Hill near the Norwest Business Hub, Daniel explained the need for consolidation through 2020-2021.
“The business has operated profitably throughout the entire pandemic period, however we’ve needed to pull back on some development opportunities and allowed growth to plateau.”
“Now it’s time to break the plateau.”
|Daniel with Sam and Brent from SolarEdge and Tony from V&N, commercial client.|
The SEA team managed a successful transition to temporary working from home arrangements through the lockdown period in 2021, although Daniel explains, “working from home has advantages, but the social side, the culture of being in the office is completely different.”
“Improving efficiency has been a primary focus,” Daniel explains.
“We’ve consolidated processes and automated many aspects of the business - including over 250 workflows in Hubspot.”
“We’ve implemented a new ticketing system, built a new website and ensured compliance with all quality and safety regulations.”
“Another big achievement that we’re proud of is earning the ProductReview.com.au Solar Installer Award for three years running in 2020, 2021 and again in 2022.”
The ProductReview.com.au awards are structured on unbiased consumer reviews and independently recognize companies that constantly strive for customer satisfaction and act as a benchmark in their industries.
|Daniel with Andy & Deb from The Block.|
When it comes to setting the standard for developing new technologies and accelerating the uptake of renewable energy solutions on a global scale, Daniel acknowledges the mighty contribution of Tesla and company founder Elon Musk.
“Elon Musk is the most inspiring individual in technology and in renewable energy. He’s been changing the world with his visionary thinking and breakthrough innovations,” says Daniel.
“I have been in partnership with Tesla since the launch of their Energy division in Australia and the roll-out of first Powerwall installations worldwide in 2017. I had the pleasure of meeting Elon at the launch of the Powerwall 2 in 2017 in Hollywood, US.”
“We share the same mission of Accelerating the transition to 100% sustainable energy and it was inspirational to take part to a tour organized by Tesla to visit their Gigafactory in Nevada and their Automotive plant in San Francisco”.
In order to live out Smart Energy Answers’ mission to empower families, communities and companies with clean free energy from the sun, Daniel acknowledges the developing a strong company culture and onboarding the right talent is key.
“Finding bright recruits whose values align with our own and the company’s values is paramount,” says Daniel.
Young graduates with engineering backgrounds, and those who’ve studied renewable energy, have made up a majority of the student intake at the Smart Energy Academy - some of whom have gone on to build careers working at SEA.
“The academy helps us to identify and recruit the best candidates. We always reward merit and make a point to promote from within the company, providing our staff with a genuine career pathway.”
“We provide regular performance reviews with opportunities for talented individuals to rise through the ranks. The best installers can also get promoted to consultants and managers.”
“Whoever stays with the company, grows with the company. We succeed together.”
|Daniel with some of the Smart Energy Answers team at the Sydney Head Office.|
Towards A Renewable Future
Innovation and education are core tenets of SEA’s values, which dictate company direction and new projects that are undertaken, Daniel explains.
“The uptake of energy storage on a much larger scale will be the biggest change we see in the renewables sector in the coming years,” he says.
“Customers need to be educated on the benefits and risks. We’re exploring new models such as VPP (virtual power plants) - where users are considered as assets to the grid, rather than just customers.”
The transition to a renewable energy economy is already well underway. As Daniel notes, within four years, 50% of the cars we see on the road could be electric.
“Add an EV to your household and your power consumption can double or more. This is why for homeowners thinking long term, fitting a solar system and battery storage is a no-brainer.”
“Being ‘smart’ is looking at the big picture. Fit a solar storage system and your home becomes your personal power station, providing EV charging, powering pool heating, air conditioning and more.”
With the future of solar power in Australia looking brighter than ever, Daniel confirms that there’s no place he’d rather be.
“Renewable energy is changing the world. I’ve found my passion and purpose in life. To me, it’s not just a job, it’s what I do.”
“Having built a team of passionate professionals here at SEA that are making a difference, that’s what I’m extremely proud of.”