True Pioneers not only of renewable energy but also entrepreneurs of new and fresh business ideas Peter Jack and Dave in 1985 created one of the first Solar and renewable energy companies in Australia. Where many have come and gone, from humble ma and pa start-ups to big behemoth giants, Rainbow Power Company has powered through- overcoming the highs and lows and becoming known as a leader and an authority in solar renewable energy and battery storage. At the time when Rainbow started there were only 8 solar companies in Australia and renewables were much more expensive; now there are hundreds if not thousands of solar companies and Solar has become relatively affordable for all, families and businesses alike.
35 years is a long time for any business and reaching such a milestone is no trifle- and certainly something to be celebrated- so we thought we would give a little trip down memory lane as well as an update on where we are now.
Responding to a need for jobs in the local area Peter van der Wyk came up with the concept of offering renewable energy options to the many people buying onto communities and vacant land, needing an alternative to connecting to the grid.
Peter came up with a name Rainbow Power Company and an early version of the logo -which featured a lightning bolt striking the Nimbin Rocks plus the rainbow beautifully placed over the whole scene. The lightning representing renewable energy and the Rainbow a reminder of the ‘New Settlers’ and original hippies including Peter who named the unique Northern Rivers area the Rainbow Region.
Friends to Peter were Dave Christmas (DC) and Jack van Hest and it was these three who developed the ideas, pooling their resources, making up different items (torches and simple items soon developed into inverters, turbines and fully fledged off grid solutions) based around Peters’ ideas and selling them at local markets.
The alternative counterculture that was growing in Nimbin was a great motivation for the development of the Rainbow Power Company to begin in this area, with these three visionaries inspired by the like-minded people all sharing similar visions, and the inspiration following on from the Nimbin Aquarius festival, which was the reason Peter in particular came to Nimbin in the first place.
Originally capitalising on a grant that was to help create jobs in the local region, Rainbow Power Company started with three founding members and now employs 42 locals with another three jobs currently available at time of print. Many talented passionate and technical staffers have helped build the company from its humble beginnings to where it is now- proudly the largest employee in Nimbin.
With three different original shop locations warehouses and manufacturing premises eventually the chaotic early days gave way to structure and organisation as RPC quickly gained recognition as a one stop shop for alternative energy sources, plus knowledge and research on the subject. The #1 Alternative Way building was built to house everyone and everything all in the one place, proudly opened by Peter Garrett (of the band Midnight Oil) in 1992.
Not only do RPC keep abreast of policy legislative changes and safety updates, they have actually been instrumental in the research, development and advancements in products and policies, suggesting changes and becoming an adviser to the national and state solar regulating bodies and authorities.
The aim of Rainbow Power Company was always to turn the tide away from environmental destruction and towards environmental harmony and all these years later that objective is being met with thousands of happy customers. Rainbow Power Company have supplied grid-connected and off-grid power solutions and battery storage Australia wide and into the Pacific, Vanuatu, Fiji, PNG, New Caledonia, New Zealand and the Solomon’s.
Our passionate renewable energy staff members all live by the motto to #makeadifference and most are on solar power themselves, with composting toilets rain water tanks and riding to work on their ebikes.
One of my favourite sayings from founding member DC is that Australia should be a Powerhouse when it comes to solar and if we had a solar array 75 miles by 75 miles we could power the world (he is English so we will excuse that, but in kms it would be 120 x 120) and this from Peter “I used to be regarded as an extremist greenie who shouldn't be taken seriously, but now my views have become mainstream” (thank goodness!).
Whether you only have $2,000 or you have $1,000,000 you can make a difference by going solar and Rainbow Power Company can help you achieve your needs including an ability to expand and grow as your situation changes.
With a range of new products including E-Bikes, hot water diverters, lithium batteries and our famous On or Off Grid systems, Rainbow Power Company has been powering through to provide alternative power solutions. Call us to arrange your next solar installation or dispatch.
Happy Birthday RPC, here’s to the next 35 years!