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Humble beginnings to Industry leader, Luke Cove’s Story.

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Humble beginnings to Industry leader, Luke Cove's Story.

My name is Luke Cove, and my journey began in Adelaide, Australia, where I was born and raised. My path has been anything but conventional, filled with challenges and opportunities that have shaped me into the person I am today. This is not just a story about my career—it’s a mission to make a difference in the world and to inspire others to join me in this quest.

The Early Days

Growing up in Adelaide, I faced the typical struggles of a teenager. I dropped out of high school after Year 11, following the path of many tradies. I left my job at KFC in 2005 to start an apprenticeship, spurred by my father’s suggestion that I should become an electrician because “they leave the site at 4 pm”. 

At 17, I embarked on an electrical apprenticeship, filled with excitement and anticipation for the challenges the world would throw at me.

The beginning was tough. I was thrown into the deep end, installing air conditioning systems, working up in roofs, taping ducts, and running cables like a rat. I even worked through Adelaide’s worst heatwave, enduring 14 consecutive days over 35 degrees, installing split systems and ducted reverse cycle air conditioners—a gruelling experience for a young apprentice.

 Yet, these hardships taught me resilience and determination.

By the time I turned 21 in 2009, I had become a Qualified A-grade electrician, completing my trade school in less than four years. I then moved into commercial construction, thinking it would be easier than domestic work. However, commercial sites often felt like prisons, with long hours, rough conditions, and a tedious routine. The environment was tough, and the culture of negotiating the highest pay for the least work didn’t sit well with me. 

I realised that I needed more than just a job; I needed a purpose.

Starting Something of My Own

In 2012, driven by a desire to create something of my own, I took a small business course and obtained my contracting licence. I bought a ute and started my small contracting business, “LMC Electrical”.

Marketing back then was rudimentary; advertising in local papers and letterbox drops. I spent the next few years doing small electrical jobs, working with real estate agents, and eventually venturing into security systems.

However, the latter wasn’t as profitable as I had hoped, and I felt I was still searching for my true calling.

In early 2017, a new chapter began when my wife received a job offer in Melbourne. We decided to relocate, which meant starting my business from scratch. I spent six months working as a contractor on the National Broadband Network (NBN), but quickly realised the industry was plagued with issues like sham contracting and withheld payments.

It was disheartening, but I knew I was destined for something greater.

Seeing potential in solar energy, I completed a CEC solar accreditation course and spent nine months learning the ropes with a subby crew. However, the poor standards and ethics in the industry shocked me. Determined to do better, I started my own business in mid-2018 as a solar subcontractor.

I quickly hired two apprentices and rented a small warehouse in Oakleigh, Victoria. Within a week, our warehouse was filled with solar panels, and we were off.

Realising the Dream

My ambition and desire to make a real impact drove me to expand from subcontracting to selling solar systems directly to customers. This marked the birth of “Lightning Solar”, soon to grow into “Lightning Energy”.

I spent countless hours working on my laptop, perched on an old, mouldy desk in the corner of my freezing warehouse, making calls and slowly building a customer base. I was literally begging people to buy solar from me with “zero dollars upfront” just to get my foot in the door of the highly competitive solar industry.

I would tell homeowners, “Please give me a shot; I won’t let you down. I need this work more than anyone.” This period was marked by perseverance and relentless effort, laying the foundation for future success.

The business took off, and within a year, we needed a bigger warehouse. Everything was booming until COVID-19 hit.

The pandemic was a challenging time, emotionally and professionally. With 20-25 staff depending on me, I felt a tremendous responsibility to keep the business afloat. During the lockdowns, I honed my sales skills and prepared for the post-pandemic surge.

When restrictions lifted, the demand for solar installations skyrocketed, necessitating yet another move to a larger warehouse.

By 2022, I began to see the bigger picture—our mission to save the planet. Inspired by Elon Musk’s master plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, I adopted a long-term strategic approach to business. This new mindset became my mantra: to strategize all the way to the end, helping people save money and the planet simultaneously.

Today, with around 40 employees and many contractors, we have completed thousands of installations across nearly every state in Australia.

In the middle of 2024, my company was thrilled to share that we’ve been recognized by the Smart Energy Council as:

  • A Top 10 Solar Installer in Victoria
  • A Top 20 Installer in Australia
  • A Top Installer in Inner East Melbourne.

It seems in recent times; I have found my calling as a business leader in the clean energy industry in Melbourne.

My goal is not only to be the best solar installation company but also the best in industry for air conditioning, heat pumps, and other energy-efficient services in the future.

Looking Forward:

This is my story, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

As I reflect on my journey, I am filled with a sense of purpose and fulfilment. I am driven by the knowledge that the work we do at Lightning Energy is not just about business; it is about making a real difference in the world.

Every solar panel we install, every home we make more energy-efficient, brings us one step closer to a sustainable future. It is a mission that goes beyond profits and numbers; it is about leaving a legacy for future generations.

I am committed to leading the next generation of clean energy enthusiasts, providing them with fulfilling careers and the skills they need to succeed.

Together, we can create a brighter, cleaner future, one installation at a time. This is my mission, and I am dedicated to seeing it through, no matter the challenges that lie ahead.

Currently, I am setting up a premium showroom in Melbourne, a “one-stop shop” for people looking to electrify their homes. This new showroom will offer an experience like no other, blending the charm of a retro cafe or record store with the futuristic vibe of a SpaceX station on Mars, complete with lush plant life and a variety of clean energy products on display.

This space will not only showcase the latest in clean energy technology but also inspire a new generation of clean energy enthusiasts to join the mission.

4 thoughts on “Humble beginnings to Industry leader, Luke Cove’s Story.”

  1. Darko Kraljevic

    Good luck Luke.You are a true,honest gentleman.You helped me out when a ex salesman tried to rip me off.You took the time to call me and fix the situation,as a result I had my solar installation by your business. I am glad that I did. I wish you well for the future and when I need anything solar installed, I will come calling.

  2. Luke wow im impressed, I have travelled a similar road ,I’m nearly 70 love alternative forms that make things more sustainable, I have a 3 kilowatt system which we purchased nearly ten years ago, I had money put aside to add a 6.6 to my existing solar system giving me approx 10 kilowatt, but early October 2023 , I was admitted to hospital with a disease called Guillian Barre Syndrome, as a consequence in ended up ina local ICU paralysis from the neck down , two collapsed lungs, blood clots,and a damaged heart, and after neurological test was told 50% I wouldn’t walk, well 240 days in hospital, and now home for six weeks im walking well shuffling, aided with a walking frame and of late a walking stick, as a consequence I am now struggling on an age care pension,and I’m finding nothing is free,so at this stage until I get consistency in my life ,I am unable to proceed, my ultimate goal is heat pump, and ducted reverse cycle air conditioning. I saved you details in my archive folder, and when ,I get on top of this hideous disease I will definitely contact you, 12 months ago I was driving 26mt B/Double milk tanker all up the east coast between Labrador in Queensland to Allansford and other places all over Victoria and NSW, I was driving 14 hours a day legally, then bang couldn’t walk, I really appreciate your persistence, I believe we will do business hopefully in the not to distant future, I wish you every success, you sound like you are heading in the right direction, and care about firstly your customers and also your workers, once again thankyou look forward to developing a working relationship with you thankyou so much ,Regards Paul

  3. Great story Luke. Thank you for sharing your journey. Good to see someone work hard to achieve their dreams and help the greater community as a result.
    While arranging my solar, I found all the staff I dealt with at Lightning Energy, to be very approachable and knowledgeable. As a result, I have recommended Lightning Energy to anyone I speak to about solar.
    All the best for your future endeavours.

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