Manuel Andres Solano Castro - South Port

Manuel Andrés Solano Castro has had quite a journey. 

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Manuel moved to Australia in 2008. Despite a Degree in Finance and Foreign Trade, he worked a wide variety of jobs with the aim of improving his English in a kebab shop, haunted house and as a cleaner. However, he was determined to succeed.

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He gained a Masters of Financial Management and a job as a laboratory technician in Brisbane - despite no prior knowledge of laboratories!

“You just learn in the process” (sic), he said.

In 2010, Manuel wanted to get into his chosen field of finance in Australia, so he moved to Melbourne. He applied for various jobs and, a couple of interviews later, landed a job as a part-time Accounts Officer with South Port. 

After progressing to become the organisation’s Finance Coordinator in 2014, Manuel and his team wanted to improve the organisation’s environmental footprint. In 2015, this desire led Manuel to work with BOOMPower to create desktop business cases across its property portfolio. However, the organisation didn’t have the money to proceed.


Luckily, this groundwork came into its own when the Victorian Property Fund Environmentally announced grants for solar, storage and energy efficiency. Manuel was keen to move quickly and maximise the opportunity… However, things went awry when Melbourne went into its first lockdown in early 2020. Not to be deterred, Manuel decided to use BOOM himself to conduct energy audits of 10 multi-residential properties, despite zero energy experience! 

“‘Everyone wanted to help with the environment, but they didn’t know how or if it was going to be possible or viable financially, so having the BOOM platform was essential.’”
- Manuel



Luckily, this groundwork came into its own when the Victorian Property Fund Environmentally announced grants for solar, storage and energy efficiency. Manuel was keen to move quickly and maximise the opportunity… However, things went awry when Melbourne went into its first lockdown in early 2020. Not to be deterred, Manuel decided to use BOOM himself to conduct energy audits of 10 multi-residential properties, despite zero energy experience! 

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As part of a collaboration with seven other community housing organisations and the peak body, CHIA Vic, South Port used the BOOM platform to analyse their energy opportunities and create business cases. Despite the Covid situation, South Port installed solar on 10 properties: eight multi-unit buildings and two standalone houses. They expect annual energy savings of $35,000/annum from the 150kW of solar installed by an indigenous solar retailer, Bunjil Energy.

‘My advice to others would be not to try and do this on your own. It’s a big project; do your research of course, but go to the experts like BOOMPower,’  Manuel says.

Manuel is looking forward to the next stage. He’s thrilled and confident that with the continuous support of the BOOM platform, he could turn his ambition to install solar and electrify their buildings. BOOM!



How did the BOOM! platform help Manuel?

  • Conducted energy audits of ten properties using BOOM during the first Melbourne lockdown with our Co-Founder, Alex, virtually!
  • Installed solar on 10 properties: eight multi-unit properties and two standalone homes.
  • Expected annual energy savings $30,000 - $35,000 for tenants to benefit from reduced power bills and utility fees.
  • With a collaboration with CHIA Vic, seven community housing organisations have been successfully assisted to apply for a Victorian Property Fund grant and utilising the BOOM platform to help them analyse their energy opportunities and create automated business cases for energy projects.
  • Engaged Bunjil Energy as their Solar supplier, upgraded 10 properties with solar PV totalling 150KW.

Time to give BOOM a try!

1. Schedule a free appointment - discuss your needs and view the BOOM! platform.

2. Create a personalised plan based on your specific needs.

3. Agree, refine and execute the plan - together.