The green energy industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States. As consumers and businesses become more aware of the importance of conserving natural resources, they are looking for affordable energy alternatives. Solar energy is a renewable energy source, and there is tremendous potential for growth for businesses selling and installing solar energy systems and technologies. Solar power systems are also called photo-electric and photo-voltaic systems, and systems of various sizes are installed to produce electricity, heat pools, and produce hot water. When planning a startup solar energy company, the business owner will need to decide whether to pursue the residential or commercial market or both, the types of products that will be sold, and the size of systems the business will install.
Additional points to keep in mind when planning the business:
• Business and technician licensing, permits, insurance, and bonding are required for any company installing electrical systems. Without proper licensing and insurance, the business cannot operate. Can the business present all the necessary documentation?
• The technology is rapidly changing as the government and research companies develop state-of-the-art solar panels and systems. The new business must have a plan for maintaining up-to-date industry knowledge.
• Only technicians and electricians specifically trained in solar energy systems can install products. How will the business find and train qualified technicians who can perform quality and safe installations?
• Will the business install out-of-the-box certified solar electric panels, or will each installation be fully customized per customer requirements? What is the brand name of the solar system, and which manufacturer will produce the solar panels? What makes these products unique?
• The large commercial and industrial markets require much larger systems than residential or small business properties. Business planning must include careful identification of the targeted market to ensure products and services will meet market needs.
• The types of services can vary significantly and may include site analysis, design and engineering, building and installing systems, and regular maintenance. What specific products and services will the company plan on delivering and what pricing scheme was developed?
Starting a new business in a fledgling industry can be risky, but the advantage is there is less competition. Though there is a growing market awareness of the cost savings and other advantages of solar systems, there is still a long way to go before people fully understand this alternative energy system. Marketing plans will have to necessarily address how the business will better inform potential customers. The federal and state governments are encouraging the growth of the solar energy industry by offering a number of tax credits and rebates to consumers and businesses choosing to install a system. Sales personnel must be knowledgeable about the current government programs.
Starting a solar energy company requires significant investment for office and warehouse space, hiring qualified staff, buying inventory, marketing products and services, and so on. Having adequate startup capital and money to support operations for the first few years of business is critical in this industry. OGS Capital consultants can provide expert assistance in developing a Business plan for a solar energy company that support requests for private investments or government grant funding.
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