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‘We are here for the long haul’ – First Choice Solar founder welcomes new shareholders

In little more than a decade, Peter Berkers has grown First Choice Solar into one of the largest and most respected solar companies in South-East Queensland and Northern NSW.

Now he is focused on his next goal – overseeing a succession plan that will see the business thrive well into the future.

Founded in 2010, the business started life contracting for other solar companies. However, it was not long before Peter set his sights on becoming a solar retailer and was dealing directly with the customer. 

“It’s no secret a lot of solar installers come and go and that’s why we’re so proud of our longevity. Solar is a highly competitive industry, but we are here for the long haul,” said Peter, who has invited two of his loyal team members to join him as shareholders in the business – son Josh Berkers and fellow long-term employee Matt McKinley.

“Matt and Josh have played an integral role in our tremendous growth during the past five years, and I am thrilled to welcome them as joint shareholders.”

Matt has worked with the business for a decade, having started as an installer before climbing the ladder to now being the director of a solar company that employs a dozen staff and has completed more than 10,000 installations.

“Josh oversees our installations, which are completed by full-time employees who are focused on quality rather than quantity,” Peter said.
“He has been with First Choice Solar since high school and throughout his electrical apprenticeship. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge and forms a key part of the leadership team with Matt and myself.”

As a proud father, Peter is understandably excited that Josh has joined him as a shareholder in the company he founded. Peter’s two other sons have also worked for First Choice Solar, with one having been onboard since day one and a potential future shareholder.

Starting out as Qelec Pty Ltd trading as First Choice Solar, the company has since changed its name to First Choice Solar Qld Pty Ltd (ACN: 144 966 110) after the restructure.

“What differentiates us from our competitors is that we don’t employ salespeople,” Peter said.

“We realised that customers want to speak with people who truly know what they are talking about and in our case that is Matt, Josh or myself."

“We are all qualified electricians, Clean Energy Council-accredited solar installers and have spent many years on the tools and our customers appreciate that we have the time to educate and support them.

“I believe there are three important aspects to selecting a solar system that will still be working and saving money for 10 years and beyond - the inverter, panels and installation.

“However, it is not just the quality of these three, but the workmanship and support given by the company providing it. We operate out of a factory and showroom in Burleigh Heads in which our customers can come and discuss our products and get advice and support.”

Peter added: “We only provide products from companies with proven performance that have offices and support staff based in Australia. I like to call these blue-chip companies where they have been around longer than the warranties they offer.” 

With the succession plan now in play, the co-owner and mentor has no intention of stepping away any time soon.

“I still love going to work,” Peter said. 

“I remain incredibly passionate about the industry, but it is reassuring to know we have implemented a succession plan that will ensure First Choice Solar continues to deliver quality, service and support to our customers well into the future.

“The solar industry is hugely rewarding because of its environmental benefits and we get to help people save money, which is the key driver for most of our customers.

“When you rewire a house, a customer can’t see your work. When a car breaks down, people can begrudge having to pay for it to be fixed. When we leave a job though, our customers look at the new solar panels on their roof and are happy because it is going to save them money for many years to come. 

“My job never feels like a chore. It is an industry I love and when it comes time to retire, I think the boys might need to lock me out to keep me away.”

For more about First Choice Solar, visit www.fcsolar.com.au

Posted in: Solar Zone at 21 July 21