Once you decide on how to start a solar business, how you get the word out about it is the next step. There are many traditional means of advertising, but these can be costly. When starting a business, many people find themselves with more time than cash. While some of these ideas do take some green, others can spread the word about your green business without costing you too much at the outset.
1. Offer something for free. There is something about free gifts, discounts and specials that makes almost any deal look even better. These tactics may reduce your profits slightly, but they require very little cash to be spent on your part.
So what can you offer for free? Installation is a great place to start. Offering free installation as part of a larger purchase package is a good way to get your foot in the door with a particular customer. If you do a good job, it can also be a way to get free word of mouth marketing.
2. Teach a free class or become a part-time teacher at a local institution. The latter of these is less likely, but if you have the credentials and connections, you might even find yourself getting paid to promote yourself.
Even without the right background or network to find a paid teaching job, you can offer to educate the public for free through workshops or seminars. Be sure to offer a balanced view of other available companies providing solar. How you build trust as a public speaker is to put your listeners’ needs ahead of your own marketing efforts. Your workshops should concentrate on solar in general, not on your particular business.
3. Educate people on the benefits of solar power. There are so many reasons to buy solar, so one of the key strategies here is to understand what a particular potential customer wants out of a solar power solution. Do they care a great deal about the environment? If so, explain the benefits in real, numeric terms. Provide analogies and examples that support and augment your claims. Help them to see the ways in which they will help the planet.
Are they looking to save money by using solar power? If so, again use real data on cost savings to explain both long and short term how they will benefit financially from using solar power. Explore with them the potential tax credits or benefits they can get by choosing solar. Make sure to explain that the longer they have solar power, the more they will save as well. This is particularly true now that energy costs are continuing to rise with no end in sight.
4. Post comments and articles on forums and blogs. Many early adopters and tech-savvy individuals can be found on the Internet in forums and on blogs. Tapping into this critical market can help you build a broader network within the industry and with potential clients. Be sure to provide well-rounded and informative opinions when posting to a forum or leaving a comment on a blog, but don’t be afraid to state clearly that you have something to sell.
If you choose to start a blog yourself, target it broadly. Cast a wide net and don’t simply try to sell your product. You have to build a reader’s trust in your abilities and expertise before you can expect them to want to do business with you. Provide solar how to articles and other valuable information.
This list is naturally not exhaustive. When it comes to marketing solar, how you reach customers is up to you. You can post fliers, pay for advertisements, network offline within the business community and so on. When you’re starting out, it’s helpful to use cost-effective marketing methods. Work on building up a customer base and attracting recurrent sales. You’ll get more business this way with no further marketing investment.
Do you want to start a business dealing in alternative power? The smart entrepreneurs are flocking to solar. How does one get involved in this growing industry? To get into or start a solar business, first you have to understand how the solar industry works.
There are solar businesses that rely on large commercial clients and big purchases to pay the bills. Others rent solar equipment to smaller businesses or homeowners directly. Fortunately, when it comes to solar, how to produce and store the energy is already established. That allows you to focus more on selling the technology than on fixing or developing technological solutions.
You don’t have to be a veteran technician, expert salesperson or crafty entrepreneur to run a successful solar business. You just need to plan ahead, proceed carefully and take advantage of a growth industry.
When starting out your own solar business, you might want to become a kind of Jack-of-all-trades. In the beginning, you may not be able to afford a staff. You may need to take care of marketing, sales and business management yourself. As you get more involved in solar, how you do business will change. You’ll be able to slowly hire staff to help you with business tasks.
There are two primary advantages to this approach:
1. You will be familiar with all aspects of your own business from top to bottom. This will make you a better manager when you do have people to manage.
2. This will save on startup costs and allow you to use your time instead of money to build and grow the business.
You could also get loans or other external funding and hire a team from the start. However, this approach carries a greater risk. It should only be done if you are experienced in business and know how to make your business successful.
You don’t need to know every detail of how solar power and technology work to run a solar business. However, it’s important to be familiar and comfortable with what you are selling to others. Here are some ways in which you can become more familiar with solar technology and the solar industry in general:
1. Some colleges have already begun offering courses and degrees in solar installation and solar business management. Taking these on the side while you build your business (or before you launch it) might be a good idea.
2. You might also wish to consider the merits of an apprenticeship. Working for someone else with a solar business can help you see how the business works from the inside. You can also see what doesn’t work. This information will help you when you strike out on your own.
3. Depending on where you live and work, you might need a special license to run your own solar business. Be sure to check with local sources to see if such a license is required in your area.
As someone starting a solar business, you might find there are more resources than you realized to help you on your way. There are free tools available to help you start a solar business. There are many solar how-to books, websites and brochures out there. There are also organizations that can provide loans and other financial assistance to developing businesses related to alternative energy.
So once you have the necessary education or training, tools, resources and funding what is next? Once you know about solar, how to make a business out of it should be your next focus. Will you cater to small clients or large, private or commercial? Will you rent, lease or sell equipment? Will you also install the equipment or contract out that work? These may change with time, but it is important to understand how solar businesses operate. Keep your knowledge fresh so that when opportunities for new directions come your way you can seize them quickly.
Many factors affect the energy output by your solar energy system. Some vary and some are fixed, but knowing what these factors are can help you combat them. There are also things you can do both before and after your system is installed to increase the efficiency of your solar energy system.
The electrical output of solar panels is measured in watts. The amount of wattage produced by solar panels is what differentiates them from each other. There are several scenarios during which solar panels reach their maximum output. High noon is one of the main ones since it is during the hottest part of the day. When it is not raining or snowing and the skies are clear, solar panels are able to produce at maximum efficiency. Other conditions include the sun being perpendicular to Earth, solar panels being optimally tilted and the panels facing southward.
Weather conditions can majorly impact the energy output by your solar energy system. Clouds, rain, snow, fog, haze and smog can all reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches your solar panels. As a result, the power your solar energy system generates is greatly reduced. To combat this, make sure that your system includes a battery bank.
A battery bank can save excess energy produced on clear and sunny days. You will be thankful for this on days when your system is not producing much.
Time of Day
Solar energy is at its peak at high noon. Although your solar energy system will produce power in the morning and late afternoon, the majority of your system’s output will be produced around noontime. Your system will be more efficient during the summer than it will be during the winter when the days are shorter. Once again, however, having a battery bank included in your solar energy system can help to combat this problem.
Proximity to the Equator
Your proximity to the equator affects the power generated by your system. Your solar panels will generate more electricity the closer you are to the equator.
Your solar energy system needs to be installed in an open area unaffected by shade. If even a small section of the solar panels are shaded, the energy output will be reduced. This issue is why it is so popular to place solar panels on roofs. This method works only if you do not have any large trees or other structures that shade your roof.
Even when installed on your roof, solar panels can become dirty. Pollution, traffic dust and even bird droppings contribute to soiling the solar panels. When the panels are dirty, their efficiency is reduced. To combat this, be sure to have the panels cleaned regularly, whether you do it yourself or pay somebody else to do it.
You can help your solar energy system be more efficient by making sure it includes a control flow system. The control flow system reduces the volume of water that needs to be heated, thereby increasing the solar energy system efficiency.
Another way to increase the efficiency of your solar energy system is to install solar roof shingles instead of traditional solar panels. Since solar shingles cover the entire surface of your roof, problems such as the tilt angle can be done away with. You can also save money, as you will not need to install additional components like control flow systems to combat efficiency problems.