Now is a great time to be an entrepreneur as there are lots of solar business opportunities to develop and choose from.
The market for solar products in the US (up 80% over next 18 months), Japan, China, India, Germany, Italy, UK are growing quite fast. Worldwide - demand for solar installations was up more than 9% last year ... and its growing.
In this section we want to give you a few ideas to consider based on our experiences as entrepreneurs and solar project developers – and will be expanding this in coming weeks to include resources and other information to help you.
Your first paragraph ...
A business will only survive if it has customers that want what you provide.
According to various research reports I've seen while working on this website – up to 94% of the people in America like the idea of solar energy and helping to save the planet – so that means there are a lot of potential customers.
So – what are people willing to pay for?
The answer again seems to be – anything solar.
Can you deliver these products or services and make a profit?
For each idea you come up with where the answer is yes – add it to your list of solar business opportunities to consider.
Need help coming up with some ideas -- here are 20 solar business opportunities to consider.
This website is dedicated to helping people get the most from the sun – and can be a great source of ideas that you could use to develop your own business. For example – here are just some of the solar business opportunities and ideas that I've identified since working on this web site and as a consultant in the solar industry:
1. Sell Products – Billions of dollars of solar PV, solar thermal systems,solar attic fans, solar cooling systems, etc. are sold each year not to mention all the component parts required to build and operate such installations. Add to that solar lights, solar gadgets, solar rechargers, and a growing list of related products and you have a lot to choose from.
2. Be a Distributor – As more an more manufacturers of products emerge – they need distributors to get the products to the market. For example, I recently started corresponding with a company in Asia that produces technology that helps solar systems produce more electricity (2 to 5 times), helps reduce electrical consumption in your home (meaning you won't need to add as many solar panels), the low cost solar street lights (with 5 day battery backup), solar back up generators and much more … and I'll be looking to build a network of distributors to develop customers for their products.
3. Develop & Own Solar Projects – With Solar Energy – anybody can become a solar developer. Find a good location, put together a team of experts (I recommend starting with an experienced solar consultant and contractor to handle the installation) develop a good business plan, raise the money, build your project – use your experience and completed projects to leverage yourself into other solar projects.
4. Sell After Market Products – As I've reported on this site – there are products that can be sold to people who already have solar installations to increase their yields, reduce the need for cleaning, etc.
5. Sell 3rd Party Provided Services - Besides selling products, you can also sell services provided by other companies – such as solar insurance products, solar cleaning, solar financing, etc. (for more see the list below).
6. Invent Solar Products – Are you a bit of an inventor? There's a whole bunch of new solar products being developed. Need an idea? Take a look at any existing product that needs power to operate and think about how you could use solar energy to provide that power. For example solar powered cooling systems (I'm already working on that one personally).
Maybe you have a new way of doing something – just look at all the products that came along after the invention of the personal computer … the cell phone … etc. the opportunities in solar are just as big if not bigger (as solar is truly a global business).
7. Find Niches – Take what someone is successfully doing in one market – and do it in your local market, or apply it to a niche market like (e.g., solar for RV vehicles, solar products for boats, solar products for recreational users, solar powered agricultural buildings, government, mobile apps for people interested in solar energy, etc.). There are a lot of opportunities.
8. Produce Informational Products – With everything going on in the solar industry – there is a strong demand for good quality information. If you are good at research – consider producing research reports, how to ebooks, instructional videos, solar training classes, the list of things you can make is limited only by your imagination.
9. Produce Financial Products - Set up a financial company – and offer specific financing products – such as solar construction financing, long term solar project financing, joint venture financing, provide angel financing, acquire solar projects, etc. There are a growing number of private investment groups that do just this.
One of the best solar business opportunities (that doesn't require lots of money) is starting a service business. Again, drawing on some of the information in this website – here are some services that you might want to consider:
10. Independent Solar Consultant – A lot of people would like to know if it makes sense to install solar on their property, and could benefit from a professional opinion that looks at the various options and guides them through the entire process.
11. Solar Panel Cleaning – As we discussed in this website - clean solar panels produce more electricity than dirty panels – and many customers would prefer to hire somebody to keep their solar panels clean rather than clean them themselves, especially if the panels are located on their roofs.
12. Financing Consultant – Solar installations are expensive, and there are a lot of different government programs out there. Also – some banks will lend money for solar installations – so why not provide your services to help clients find the money they need to build their projects. Just as there are mortgage brokers – why not create your own "solar brokerage service.
13. Solar Appraisal – Just as there are real estate appraisals – why not create a "solar appraisal business" – to assess the value of a solar array on a property for sale … or the future potential of adding a solar installation on an building.
14. Solar Repairs – Solar systems last a long time – but some maintenance is required from time to time, especially on older systems that might need to be upgraded with new inverters, wiring replaced, storm damage repairs, etc.
15. Start a Job Placement Service - On the one hand you have a lot of companies in the solar industry that need to hire people … and on the other, you have a lot of people who would like to work in the solar industry. Start a solar job placement service – offer tips and advice to employers and job seekers alike. You would be helping a lot of people, including yourself.
16. Start a School - Have a skill already – like knowing how to install solar panels or solar heaters – teach others. As I wrote in idea #15 above – there is a big demand for skilled workers – and you can provide training (either online … or hands on). There is a growing need for skilled installers. That's just one example, there are many other skills you could teach people.
17. Start a Non-Profit - You don't have to be limited to for profit ideas – there are a number of non-profit solar business opportunities. For example, you can start a foundation to help bring solar energy to people in need, advocate the adoption of FIT programs in your state, promote solar energy awareness in your community, promote greater awareness of vitamin D to help prevent disease, raise money for installing solar systems in developing countries, etc.
18. Nutritional Advice - If you've read the information we've published about the <a href=http://www.solar-facts-and-advice.com/vitamin-D.html>Sunshine Vitamin</a> you'll realize that a very high percentage of the population are vitamin D deficient – and so there is a great need for vitamin D awareness, testing, counseling, vitamin D supplements, etc.
19. Solar Broker - There is a growing market for companies looking to acquire and develop portfolios of solar projects (at least in Europe). Typically, they will buy FIT eligible projects that are connected to the grid – but in some cases you can also sell "shovel ready" solar projects with permits.
20. Energy Auditor - Another service that is growing in demand is to conduct energy audits and make recommendations how people can reduce their electrical consumption.
If you've ever thought about having your own business – you might want to seriously look at the potential of doing something that helps promote solar energy.
These are just a few ideas – there are many solar businesses and many more started every month.
If you are already in the solar industry - or starting out - let me know. We're planning on adding a directory of companies - and would love to add your story and help refer our readers, suppliers, etc. to your web site.
matter which one of the solar business opportunities you decide to
pursue - you will need to attract and retain customers – and one of
the best ways to do that is to have your own website.
On the Navbar to the left – click on Sitesell for more details for the best way to build a successful website that can tailored exactly for any of the solar business opportunities you choose. It's what I use ... and I definitely recommend it.
Once you have selected which of these solar business opportunities is
right for you (and be sure to check out the Brainstormer section of
Sitesell to help you with that), developed your idea and business plan –
send it to me and we can give you some feedback, publish information
about what you are doing on our website, which could generate some good
contacts and maybe help you raise some money to make it happen.
NOTE: I'm in discussions with a local web site consulting group to provide special assistance for people who want to set up or improve their website. I'm going to start by having them update my site - and then JV with them to offer services to my many readers (yes they do have international web development experience - and yes, readers will get a substantial discount -- just contact us and send us a note that you are interested.