If you are also planning to start a business in the solar industry, then this article will be a complete guide for you. In this article, we’ll discuss all the important points that one should consider while starting a solar business.
Also, We’ll cover topics such as different solar sectors in which you can start your business, the requirements while starting a solar business and where to get them fulfilled, how to get customers, raw materials, and how to connect with people who’ll help you with the solar services.
Now, before you move on to reading this article, below is a link to a form that you can fill out if you are interested in starting a solar business.
3 Different Sectors To Start Your Solar Business In
Let’s understand the different sectors in which you can start your solar business. This is very important to understand because the requirement for every sector is different.
1. Manufacturing Sector
The first is being the manufacturing sector where products and accessories are manufactured. This sector needs huge investment as you’ve to buy machines to manufacture the product, the land required to set up the factory, the salary of the workers, etc.
2. Marketing/Sales Sector
The marketing sector doesn’t require huge investment but skills and knowledge. You should have skills in generating leads and converting them to customers.
3. Service Sector
This sector includes installation, repair, maintenance, etc. You need to have solar knowledge and a team as it includes tasks such as installation, maintenance, etc.
High Demand Solar Products To begin Your Solar Business Journey With
After understanding various sectors in the solar industry, now let’s have a look at some high-demand solar products. you might get a better understanding after checking out these solar products.
I’ve divided these products into 3 categories – Solar Products, Solar Accessories & Solar Appliances.
- Solar Panels
- Solar Inverters
- Solar Batteries
- Solar Charge Controllers
- Structure for Panels
- Solar Wires/Cables
- MC4 connectors
- ACDB & DCDB Boxes
- Lightning Arrestor
- Earthing kit
- VFD device to run water pumps directly on solar power
- Solar Lights (Street Light, Garden Light, Outdoor Light, Solar Torch, etc.)
- Solar Water Heater
- Solar Water Pump
- Solar Fan
The reason behind discussing these different types of solar products is to make you understand that you need not start something with major solar products such as solar panels, inverters or batteries but with any small product.
For example, the MC4 connector is a small product but a whole business can be set up around it. You need to do some research to understand the market demand and competition of the product. Also, a small product usually requires a small investment as no heavy machines or labor are needed.
8 Futuristic Solar Business Ideas in India
Now that you are well aware of the basics, let’s understand how to start a solar business.
1. Become a Solar Manufacturer
I’ve told you earlier this sector requires huge investment as you have to set up a factory, machines, labor, raw materials, etc.
Also, this is not just limited to manufacturing a solar product, you should also think about selling your solar product. Hence, before starting a factory, make sure you have connections to buy your product.
If the investment is what bothers you, there is an alternate way to consider. This alternate way is known as OEM.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturing
OEM is a process where you don’t manufacture the product yourself but ask another company to do so. You should check various things before doing so such as their complete process of manufacturing a product, What machines do they use, how skilled their workers are, how is their factory, and most importantly, the quality of their product.
If it all looks good, you can tie-up with them. You can give them an order for the required quantity under your brand name. That manufacturer will manufacture the product with your brand name on it. This will save you from all the hassle of setting up a factory and manufacturing the product. You can now sell or promote the product with your brand name without even manufacturing it.
Below is a video showing the details of a company that does OEM of lead-acid batteries for various popular brands in India.
I’m also planning to create similar videos for other solar products. I’m already in talks with several solar product manufacturers and solar brands for this. In near future, you’ll get to see a lot of similar videos.
2. Become Solar Dealer or Distributor
Companies manufacture all types of solar products such as panels, solar batteries, charge controllers, solar home lighting systems, solar inverters, solar PCU, etc. If you associate with solar companies then you will be able to procure all the products from them at a special discounted rate.
But there are certain points that you should know before starting. For example, a lot of big brands already have a solar dealer/distributor network and if there is a vacant spot available then there will be a franchise fee to be a part of such a network.
Also, you’ve to buy their solar products in bulk. You need to have a godown to keep those products, then you can sell them further.
Small manufacturers, on the other hand, don’t have a dealer/distributor network. The benefit of joining small manufacturers is that you don’t have to pay the huge franchise fee. But the challenge here is that neither the brand nor their product is popular and you have to struggle a lot to sell their products because of this.
However, such small manufacturers help their dealers and distributors to grow. If they get a lead, they will pass on that lead to you and do not sell directly to customers.
Just remember one thing, whatever brand you choose, always check out their process, what is their vision and what is the quality of their product. If the product is good, it will make its space in the industry.
Not long ago, I made a video on UTL Solar Shoppe Franchise which anyone can join with a nominal fee and because UTL is a well-known brand, it is easy for you to recover your investment. Below is the video, if you want to watch it.
3. Start Solar EPC or Installation company
EPC stands for Engineering, Procurement and construction.
This means if a customer wants to go solar then being an EPC company, you will provide him the complete solution like creating a plan for the project what all will it include.
Once the customer agrees, you need to finalize the vendor for the products and then do the complete installation of the project and also provide the after services once the project is finished.
An installation company can also be a subcategory of an EPC company as it will be limited to installation only.
This sector needs advanced solar knowledge, solar products knowledge along networking. Networking is important as you would want to get the products at the lowest price possible.
You would also need a team as services such as installation and all require a team.
This solar sector requires less investment but more skills, network and an experienced team.
4. Become a Solar Seller
This is similar to being a dealer/distributor but instead of being tied up with just 1 brand, you can resell as many products as you acquire from a dealer or a distributor.
Like I told you earlier do not only focus on primary solar products but on secondary products as well like ACDB, DCDB box, MC4 connectors, wires, cables and you’ll find enough such manufacturers who create these secondary products.
Not to forget that these small manufacturers don’t have a strong dealer/distributor network. This gives you an opportunity to resell such products.
Also, there are various aftermarket products that are needed once the project is complete. For example, you could clean a small solar panel set up at your home in merely 1 hour but for the big projects where these solar panels are installed in a huge quantity. If someone wants to clean these many panels, it will take a lot of time and once he is done will that, the panels will again start getting dirty.
Hence you can become a reseller of such a product that solves this problem. There are many such small products that you can resell.
5. Start Solar Repair, Maintenance and Recycling Service
As the name suggests, repairing service includes something to repair but what most of us think is that solar panels come from well-known brands which come with 25 years of warranty and if they get faulty we will contact customer support of the manufacturing brand as we do for any other product.
But you need to understand that most of the solar panels installed around your house were installed in recent years and these panels include 10-12 years of manufacturing warranty but what will happen once that warranty period is over.
There are not enough cases on this but as time pass, there will be cases of faults in solar products and one does not contact a brand for small faults and that too when there is no warranty on the product.
Let’s take the example of a ceiling fan at your home. We never contact the manufacturer if there is a fault in the ceiling fan, especially when there is no warranty. In such cases, we take the ceiling fan to a local electrician who finds out the fault and fixes it. A similar kind of situation will come with solar products in the future, so you should think about starting a solar repair service.
Maintenance service, as I told you earlier, includes tasks such as cleaning solar panels or managing wires and cables, etc.
Solar recycling service is something that no one talks about. We all know that the performance warranty of a solar panel is 25 years but what will happen to solar panels once their life is done.
There is no proper plan for this as every other brand is focusing on manufacturing and selling but not on recycling. You can start a solar recycling service if you want and this is a future demand as no brand or individual is talking about this right now.
6. Invent New Solar Products
The solar products that I shared with you earlier in this article were also invented by someone at some time.
Just have a look around you and see if you can convert any electrical gadget or appliance into solar. You’ll need technical skills and knowledge to do this.
Just make sure of these 2 points before starting.
- The product should be a problem-solving product.
- It should be cost-effective.
It should not be like creating a product that no one needs or even if your product solves the problem but is not cost-effective, it will still be a failed product.
7. Become a Solar Auditor/Consultant
This role is made for someone who has a strong influence and keen interest in making people go solar despite having little technical knowledge about solar power.
You could be a retired bank manager, head of your RWA, Principal of a school or a star of a women’s club – as long as you can convince people around you to go solar, companies want YOU!
Solar Companies will provide you with all the information and knowledge to suggest solar solutions to people. A lot of solar companies in India are giving a golden opportunity to people who are passionate about green energy.
There are many people who want to go solar but they have no idea how to start and they want someone to guide them. You can play a great role here by understanding their requirement, guiding them, creating a plan, etc.
8. Start Solar Training or a Solar Job Placement Agency
As we discussed earlier in the article, Solar EPC companies require skilled workers. Hence, you can start training people on solar either offline or online.
For offline, you need to have an institute and its biggest drawback is that your reach is limited. You can only reach out to the local crowd and not the national or international crowd.
If you go online, you can even reach the international crowd as well. Online mediums include YouTube, Udemy, etc. If anyone is interested, they will pay the fee and get themselves enrolled in your course from such websites.
Also, as we know that solar EPC companies need skilled workers, you can fulfill that gap by starting a solar job placement agency.
With an average of 300 sunny days a year, ample rooftop space and push from Modi Government, India is witnessing a solar boom. In the coming 5 years, there will be a solar revolution in India – like the mobile phone revolution. We are a country of billion plus people if something catches on it is bound to be BIG!
This article was written by Shashank Tyagi, founder of SolarClap. I’ve been working in the solar industry for the last 5 years. I’ve enough understanding of how solar energy works.
In the last 5 years, I got the chance to connect with various people from the solar industry. I’ve connected with customers who need solar products, I was able to connect with dealers/distributors who were looking for customers and also with the manufacturers and brands who wanted to promote their solar products.
I’ve seen this industry from up close and I can help you in starting your own solar business. I hope this article has helped you understand the different areas where you can start your solar business.
If you’ve any queries related to the solar business then you can ask them in the comment section below. I’ll try to reply to as many comments as possible.