Having an enterprising streak while trying to live a more sustainable life is something that’s not easy to reconcile. On one hand, you might have a lot of amazing ideas for lucrative businesses. On the other hand, you cannot be blind to the fact that any of these ideas might leave an irreparable footprint on the planet.
Well, here’s a business pitch for you: why not set up a company that distributes clean energy like solar power? This way, you’ll be able to make good use of your business flair while maintaining a clean conscience that you’re not contributing to the negative environmental impact of business activities.
Convinced but not quite sure where to start? In this article, we’ll list down eight things you need to start your own solar company.
1. Research, research research
Before diving headfirst into any business, you need a solid insight into what the industry looks like. Having a firm grasp of solar-related statistics will give you a pretty good jump-off point for your business. Determine the size of the market and what the competition is providing existing clients. Find out which solar technologies have already saturated the area you’re in, and find which options have yet to be made available to your prospective clients. Be familiar with the kinds of solar incentives that can be availed by your clients or your company by going solar.
2. Solid business plan
Now that you have the data to back it up, you can design a solid business plan that specifically enumerates the products and business you want to offer, may it be PV panels, solar batteries, or even subscriptions to your own solar farms. Your business plan should also reflect your target capital, and when you are expecting to earn it back.
3. Sufficient financing
Your business plan will come in handy when you line up for financing. Naturally, you will need a pretty big capital to get your solar business up and running. Unless you have enough saved up in the bank to pull yourself up from the bootstraps, you are going to need financial assistance in the form of a business loan. Your business plan will be the way to convince lending institutions that your enterprise is worth the gamble.
4. A good team
A solar company is not really one of those businesses you can run single handedly. You need a team you can trust to help you with the business operations. You can start simply by enjoining your friends and family members to help you kick things off, then start hiring people once you’ve already got your footing in the industry.
5. Insurance and licenses
Next, you have to legitimize your operations by first registering your business and securing everything you need to start distributing solar power to clients. Note that different states and cities would have different requirements before they allow companies to install solar panels and put up community solar farms, so you have to do your own research and get started early on since some of these licensing and accreditation processes could take some time.
6. A trusted car rental company
As a solar distributor, you can bet that you’d have to take a lot of trips to solar sites and client’s houses and offices. More often than not, you’d be slinging some heavy and bulky equipment with you, so you really need the help of professional trucking companies. It might also give you better peace of mind to forge partnerships with firms like Flex Fleet rentals, which already have experience in leasing out vehicles to solar companies, and thus already know the intricacies of what solar firms like yours need.
7. Your own community
Aside from car rentals, you also need a network of professionals like site inspectors, installation handymen, and crane service providers to assist you in specific projects like, for instance, installing panels on the roof of a skyscraper. Every business needs its own ‘community’ of trusted individuals and companies that will be instrumental in the success of its gigs. The earlier you start building this community, the earlier you can hit the ground running.
8. Commitment to the cause
Finally, you need to be committed to the cause. There are a lot of growth opportunities in the solar industry, and you might have to scale up faster than you expected. Even so, you have to focus on why you decided to start a solar business in the first place — which is to remain steadfast in your commitment to run a business that’s good for the environment.
Remember that for you and this business, it’s not (all) about the money.
With that, all the best to your new endeavor.