According to the International Energy Agency, between 2015 to 2020, solar panels will be responsible for adding two-thirds of the power capacity in the globe. This makes it a very profitable business venture to tap from. Many companies have started to understand how profitable this venture is and have begun to tap from this massive venture.
It is particularly profitable in sunny regions, as individuals who reside there are more likely to leverage solar technologies. However, this does not mean it can’t be used in almost any location considering solar panels are a more budget-friendly and efficient option.
The great news is that anyone can tap from this massive opportunity, and what’s more, you don’t even need technical expertise to do so. If you are interested in starting and running a solar panel installation, MDB Solar has put together some vital information that can help you achieve this.
But first, a look at what a solar panel installation company does.
Activities of A Solar Panel Installation Company
To run a successful solar panel installation company, you need to first know what they do. Many people believe it has to do with the installation of solar panels similar to what the name states. This is not wrong, but it is not the whole truth either. The activities of a solar panel company go way beyond this.
For one, the company does on-site inspections of the location they have been tasked with installing the solar panel. Next, they put up a plan in place for that site, and collaborate with the owner as regards the finance and installation of the solar panels.
However, their activities do not stop there, as solar panel companies also provide maintenance and repair services. This is to ensure clients get value for every penny they spend on fixing these solar panels. Furthermore, in the event of irreversible damages, solar panel companies can offer replacement services too. Now that you know this, why should you begin this business now? Let us find out below.
Why You Should Begin a Solar Panel Installation Business
As we stated earlier, solar panels are going to be responsible for adding two-thirds of the global power capacity worldwide. Furthermore, many scholars predict that by the year 2050, around 11 percent of solar energy will be drawn from panels installed on commercial and residential structures.
The solar panel market is growing and won’t stop anytime soon. Many businesses have started to adopt this form of energy because it is budget-friendly, easy to maintain, and ensures reduced cost of operation for any business or home. There is no better time than now to tap from this massive bucket of opportunity.
Who Should Begin This Business?
This business is ideal for anyone who understands a little about the business of construction and how electrical contract functions. It is also excellent for one who is highly motivated and has fantastic skills in business management and an urge to be successful. If this sounds like you, let us look into a few things to consider before you begin, which will ensure your success in the business.
Tips to Start a Successful Solar Panel Installation Company
If you aim to run a successful solar panel installation company, the following are a few tips that can be of help.
Write A Business Plan
Similar to other forms of businesses, the first thing you need to do is carry out comprehensive research. By failing to take this step, you may as well be flushing money down the drain, especially if you don’t know what to expect.
By carrying out research, you will learn the following:
- Your Target Customers: Before you start your company, you will want to determine your target customers. Will you be paying attention to homeowners alone? Or would you focus on installing solar panels on commercial structures too? If you can determine the individuals, you will be serving, and it will be less complicated for you to develop an excellent customer base. Learn more about how to properly profile your ideal PV customers here.
Other things you will learn include:
- The market requirement
- Where to get materials at the most affordable prices?
- The ideal type of staff and a host of others
All of these make it crucial to put a business plan in place before you begin this venture. With a business plan, you will be more focused as regards the direction to take to ensure you are successful.
Choose A Good Area to Service
The location you decide to go with has a lot of influence on your earnings and your cost of operations. This is a decision you need to make during the early phases of the business. If you end up in the wrong location, it is expensive and almost impossible to correct. This is why you need to do your research correctly before you make a choice as regards your business location.
If you have decided to service commercial structures, then choose locations with lots of businesses. Are you targeting homeowners? Then pick a residential area.
Also, you need to choose a location that is budget-friendly and won’t dip excessively into your operating cost. This is particularly necessary as a start-up business as you don’t want to go bankrupt before you begin.
Lastly, choose a location where installing solar panels is legal. You may find locations that suit your other requirements, but if they don’t support what you do, you may be setting yourself up for legal problems. If the zoning board of your chosen city does not support what you do and isn’t willing to compromise, then you need to look for somewhere else.
Get The Proper Certification and Licensing
This is an extension of the first step above. Before you decide to settle on a state, you need to find out the licenses and certifications you require. If you choose to settle for cities like Connecticut and Massachusetts, you will require an electrician’s license to get a solar installation permit. In addition to this, a construction license is required if you want to operate in Massachusetts.
If you elect to settle for other states, you don’t need a license to work on 12-volt photovoltaic, until the moment it is connected into the inverter. The instant you connect it, you have started to wire 120-volt electricity, which will require that you have an electrician’s license.
Some states will make it compulsory that you get a roofing contractor’s license if you are going to be carrying out installations on the rooftop.
Some other helpful certifications you will require include:
- SEI Solar Professionals Certificate
- North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
- Solar Business and Technical Sales Certificate
- International and Developing World Applications Certificate
- Residential and Commercial Photovoltaic Systems Certificate
- Renewable Energy Applications Certificate
- Battery-Based Photovoltaic Systems Certificate
You can get the business licenses and certifications you require from your city or county. This will ensure you don’t fall into the wrong hands of the law or run the risk of your business being shut down.
Register a Company Name
Having a business name is not mandatory. However, it can give your business a more professional look. You will use your business name to advertise and carry out your financial affairs.
Establish a Legal Business Entity
By developing a legal business entity like an entity, it will ensure that anytime your business gets into legal trouble, you are not personally liable. To ensure you stay safe, you can get the help of a registered agent.
Get Your Finance in Order
All businesses require finance, and the same applies to solar panel installation companies. Without the right amount of funding, you will be unable to grow to your full potential. The business of installing solar panels is one that requires a lot of cash, so you need to get your finance in place.
With finance, you will purchase the needed equipment, and also pay your employees. There are numerous ways to get funding for your business which consists of the following:
- Your savings
- Community schemes
- Loans from banks and credit unions
- Finding a partner
- Loans from family and friends
- Overdraft from banks
Examine Tax Incentives
There are numerous tax incentives that can ensure your prospective clients find it cost-effective when they choose to install solar panels. If you can learn about all of these incentives and familiarize yourself with them, you can use the information to draw in new clients for your business.
To learn about these incentives, you can check out the website of the Solar Energy Industries Association in the region you are located in. You can also check out the DSIRE or Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Invest in Transportation
During your business operations, you will need a lot of equipment and a means to carry them around. This can quickly become expensive for you to deal with if you have to hire a vehicle each time there is a business.
A great way to get around this is to invest in a means of transportation like a van as well as the tools you will require. If you don’t have the finance to do it by yourself, look for a means of getting funding from a credit union or local bank or other alternatives we discussed earlier.
Get Insurance for Your Business
For any business you want to start-up, insurance is a necessity. This is particularly more important in a business like this where you may be installing panels on rooftops and dealing with electricity. In the event of an accident or damage to the property you are working on, you can be sure of full coverage.
Also, getting insurance for your employees may be deemed a legal necessity in the state you are working in. So do your research before you begin to avoid any legal hassles that may arise.
Hire Excellent Employees
If you aim to begin a successful company, you will need to get help. It will be impossible to do everything by yourself, especially if you plan on doing the business on a large scale. The number of staff you will require will have a lot to do with your initial capital and the size you intend to start the business.
You will have to hire individuals for numerous roles. You may want people for accounting and marketing, and others with excellent communication skills. Also, you will require experienced technicians and those experienced in construction.
However, this does not mean you hire just anyone that comes your way. Before you hire an employee, you need to go through a proper selection and vetting process. Take a look at the qualifications and experiences they have, especially when hiring technicians who will be doing electrical work. Also, make sure that you go with individuals who have goals similar to that of your business as attaining success will be less difficult if you and your employees are on the same page.
Related article: How To Make VAs Work for Your Solar Installation Business?
Create a Relationship with Wholesale Suppliers
In the end, a business is still what it is; a business. This means you will have to find ways to make a profit while ensuring you provide high-quality materials. You will need a lot of batteries, solar panels, and many others when you fully start the business. If you can develop good relationships with wholesalers, you can get various materials at wholesale prices.
Marketing and Advertising of Your Solar Business
There are multiple ways to generate solar leads.
Find a way to get you included in your local chamber of commerce, and buy print and on-air ads, to increase your reach in the area your business is set-up. You also need to come up with innovative ways to advertise the services you render. A great way to do this is to use flyers, real estate magazines, and local newspapers.
Lastly, don’t ignore digital marketing. Ensure your business has a good presence online. Create a website alongside pages on social media platforms that you keep regularly active to ensure your business growth.
To get the most out of your website, you should consider taking SEO training specifically for solar installers. Also, make it mobile-friendly since most people visit sites on their mobile devices. This way, you will be taking advantage of every channel. Remember to include your contact information, past jobs, and all of your services on your website to make it easier for potential clients to make a decision.
As you can see, starting a solar panel installation company does not have to be difficult. If you can effectively read and implement all of the tips and considerations listed above, in time, you will become a force to reckon with.
Marco is the owner of MDB Solar, specialists in installing, repairing and maintaining solar systems. MDB Solar have very high expectations of our workmanship and provide great customer service. Leader dominants in the Australian solar industry for over seven years now & have generated a great deal of experience and knowledge.