ENERGY Tim Hodgson, Light Touch Solar & Electricity
Inspired by the rise of solar power and a desire to create positive change for the future, Tim Hodgson developed his initial vision and strategy for Light Touch Solar & Electricity in 2013. Originally an electrician by trade, Tim decided he could better use his skills to take a leap from wiring houses and installing air conditioner units, to make a more meaningful contribution to society and the environment. In particular, he saw the importance of decarbonising the grid. And so he began building his business by establishing a local company culture that community members could become involved in.
Light Touch Solar & Electricity has evolved from initially just Tim and a trade assistant to an eight-person team, four of which work out in the field installing power systems most days. The company installs systems everywhere in the Byron Shire, and has extended coverage as far north as Tweed, as far south as Grafton and all the way out to Tenterfield; essentially all throughout the Northern Rivers region.
As the price of installing solar power systems has become remarkably more affordable in the past few years, more and more people are motivated to switch to solar power in order to save money in the long run.
According to Tim, in most cases, the return investment for a solar-only system is only three to five years. “The main obstacle for people is that there are many companies offering solar, and everyone has a different opinion about what they should do,” said Tim. “A customer’s main obstacle is getting educated.”
Tim continued, saying while such a quick return investment is not yet feasible for a battery system, the return investment is notably strengthened when combined with a solar system. Light Touch offers to examine their customers’ bills and formulate cost and energy saving strategies, and can finance a system for batteries.
The best part of his business? Seeing how the region is becoming less dependent on carbonised power. “We take pride in the fact that our systems will go a long way in decarbonising the grid. They will also help the shift from a centralised power system to a decentralised power system, in both the physical and metaphorical sense,” said Tim.
Tim’s contributions to the Byron Shire region do not end with Light Touch Solar. After reaching the initial business goals he set for his company, Tim began to wonder what else was out there for him to become involved in. Having always prioritised community work, Tim decided to join Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby (COREM) while it was in its starting phase.
Working closely with COREM President Ella Goninan and (former) COREM Vice President Dave Rawlins, he was successful in obtaining a $30,000 grant from the NSW government, which served as the seed funding to establish COREM. Although he is no longer on COREM’s staff, Tim has watched the organisation grow with great enthusiasm. In addition, Tim has been a big supporter of ENOVA Energy, and promotes the considerably clean power company at every opportunity.