Manufacturing News, Sustainability

Revolutionising the Australian solar rooftop mounting market

In the renewable energy landscape, Sunlock is synonymous with innovation and efficiency, with its solar mounting systems gracing the rooftops of Australia’s most prominent commercial and government buildings.

Sunlock’s work with renowned brands, including Ikea, Aldi, McDonald’s, Goodmans, Woolworths, Bunnings, and KFC, and its widespread presence on commercial and government rooftops across Australia underscores its market-leading position.

Sunlock, as described by general manager Mani Kaparakis, is not just a company but a revolution in the solar industry. “We’re fresh, we’re innovative, we are very different in how we approach the market and our products and our customers,” said Mani.

This ethos of innovation is deeply ingrained in Sunlock’s operations, from its unique C-Channel designed for commercial installations to its rapid three-year ascent to becoming Australia’s leading commercial solar mounting manufacturer.

Sunlock’s specialised focus on commercial solar mounting systems is a critical factor in its success. “We only make commercial solar mounting systems for commercial solar,” Kaparakis emphasises.

Their exclusive C-Channel design is engineered to withstand the highest loads and is tailored specifically for commercial installations. This efficiency is reflected in the product’s quick installation time, making it a favourite among installers and retailers.

What also sets Sunlock apart is not just its products but its people and culture. With a small team that knows each customer by name, Sunlock adds a personal touch to the solar industry, making service not just a priority but a defining characteristic. “Culture’s very important to us, and all of our employees know all our customers by first name,” Mani emphasises.

A partnership with Capral Aluminium is an alliance that has fortified Sunlock’s commitment to Australian-made quality and sustainability.

“Partnering with Capral has allowed us to manufacture an Australian product,” Mani notes, “Capral delivers the best possible product for us in a speedy timeframe. They understand our business requirements, their service is exceptional, and the fact that we can make our product locally support the Australian market and have an Australian product is very important to us.”

“Sunlock’s philosophy, built on embracing change, innovation, and sustainability, resonates through its products and partnership with Capral.”

Mani emphasises the importance of a shared vision as a key strength of the Sunlok Capral partnership, “we wanted someone that would understand our business, share our vision, our passion, and grow with us. And that happened day one, I think Craig came out to see me and I explained to him what we do, how we do it.”

“He got it very quickly. So did the whole team, our relationship has grown significantly and it’s just been so exciting over the last couple of years. They understood our direction, our passion, our vision, what we needed out of there from them. And they’ve basically gone above and beyond to help us get to where we are today.”

Capral’s introduction of LocAl Green in 2022, a low-carbon aluminium, has been a game-changer for Sunlock. By exclusively using LocAl Green to produce its C-Channel solar rails, Sunlock has not only upheld its commitment to quality but has also enhanced the sustainability of its production.

“The adoption of LocAl Green means that Sunlock’s mounting solutions are not only the most efficient and effective but now the most sustainable. “One thing which stood out for us whilst we were considering the switch to LocAl Green was the fact that we could drastically reduce our carbon emissions without any change to our product quality, performance or specifications,” Mani asserts.

By switching to LocAl Green, Sunlock will reduce its carbon emissions by 3,000 tonnes this year, a bold move that demonstrates the company’s leadership.

Capral’s introduction of LocAl Green aluminium is transformative across industries, offering strength, durability, and a sustainable edge. With carbon emissions at just eight kilograms per kilogram of aluminium, compared to the global average of 13.9 kg CO2e/kg Al, LocAl Green represents a significant step forward in reducing the environmental impacts of all aluminium products.

In 2023, in the solar industry alone, Australian solar panel installers will use over 16,000 kilometres of aluminium solar rails, equivalent to approximately 12,000 tonnes of aluminium.

Sunlock’s journey, marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation and quality and its strategic partnership with Capral Aluminium, is an exceptional example of Australian manufacturing excellence. As the solar industry continues to grow, Sunlock’s story of innovation, market leadership, and sustainable practices will inspire and shape the future of renewable energy in Australia and beyond.

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