SolarNetwork was studied as part of a Masters thesis titled solarnetwork.net: An Open Source Platform for Distributed Generation by John Gorman in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the School of Engineering at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The thesis was completed in March 2009 with First Class Honours.
In June of 2008 Matt Magoffin met John and became interested in collaborating by open sourcing the software portion of John's thesis work. The initial code was published on SourceForge in July. Then in October of 2012 the code moved to GitHub.
In 2009 Philip Court began collaborating with SolarNetwork by identifying synergies with the open source Tumanako electric car project project, and later John, Matt, and Philip formed Greenstage Power, Ltd. to foster SolarNetwork's growth commercially.