How to Start a Solar Business in India

The solar business in India is growing at a rapid pace, generating many business opportunities for people who want to enter this business.

solar business

In fact, India is in the top list, among those nations that carry the great potential to grow in this industry.

The government of India has launched various schemes to encourage the generation of solar power in the country like VGF Schemes, Solar Park Scheme, Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Scheme, CPSU Scheme, etc.

If you are planning to step in this fast-growing industry, you need to know what are the different solar business opportunities are available in this field.

So to help you out, this article will give you some useful information regarding different business opportunities available in this field.

Solar Business Opportunities in India

If you look at the Indian solar business industry there are basically 7 types of business opportunities. Focusing on any one type of business listed below would help you in achieving success.

Manufacturing of Solar Panels:

Setting up a Solar Panel manufacturing business in India is not an easy task. Because you will be directly competing with established Chinese and Indian manufacturers.

These manufacturers already have market contacts and they are providing materials for a low price with good quality.

Solar business opportunities

However, if you want to start a small solar panel manufacturing plant, you can follow the below steps,

a. Market Research: Make proper market research. Understand demand and supply in your region.

b. Location: Select a location considering both demand and transportation difficulties.

c. Factory Size: Finalize the factory size. Consider future extension opportunities as well

d. Machinery and Equipment:
Purchase it from the dealers. You can import international brands with the help of local dealers.

You require machinery like back sheet cutting station, Framing machine, solar cell soldering machine, visual inspection station, etc.

e. Material Procurement: Set-up a warehouse within your plant to store raw materials and finished products.

Raw materials include Solar cells, solar glass, module frame, backseats, junction boxes, sealants, etc.

f. Arranging Manpower: You need both skilled and non-skilled manpower for your manufacturing unit.

g. Licenses and Certificates: Get required licenses and certificates from the government and local authorities.

h. Connecting with Distributors: Deal with good distributors to create a supply chain and deliver your products to the market.

To set up a small scale solar panel plant up to 10 MWp, you may require an investment of approximately 1 crore Indian rupees.

If you have an interest in the electrical industry, instead of solar panels, you may look at manufacturing electrical products like sting combiner boxes, fuse boxes, connectors, etc.

Solar Panel Distributor Business Plan:

Solar panel manufacturers need distributers to reach their products into the local market.
The second business opportunity in the solar energy industry is to become a solar panel distributor.

A solar distributor purchases solar panels from manufacturers in bulk and distributes it to the local market by selling them to dealers and retailers.

You need to make an in-depth local market analysis before deciding to become a solar panel distributor.

Rural areas have a good opportunity because of the infrequent distribution of power or electricity.

Location and Warehouse:
Select a location with good connectivity to the local market. You need a warehouse to store the purchased products.

Licences & Registration:
Get all licenses, registrations, GST & business insurance if required.
How to get products?

The next step is to tie up with an international or domestic manufacturer, considering your local market preferences.

Some of the top International solar panel manufacturers are Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar, Hanwha W Cells, etc.

In India, we have some top brands like Vikram Solar, Adani, Waaree Solar, etc.
You can contact any brand through their website, by filling a distributor/dealer form.

If they have a requirement in your region and you are ready to invest, then they might accept your request. Investments vary from one brand to another.

Get Leads:
Reach local dealers and retailers. This would be easy if you tied up with a reputed solar panel brand.

If you have expertise in the electrical industry, you can become a solar inverter distributor by following the same steps mentioned above.

A solar inverter is an advanced version of UPS, Battery inverters. Some of the top brands are ABB, Delta, and Emerson, etc.

Independent Solar Consultant:

A lot of people would like to know is it worth full to install solar on their property, and could benefit from a consultant opinion that looks at the various options and guides them through the entire planning process.

A solar consultant advises customers on the different options available in the solar industry for their upcoming projects.

You can recommend different solar products to your client by providing a detailed analysis of energy-saving and cost estimates.

Compared to the other two, this solar business plan requires much less investment. You need to spend money on promotions, staff, and office rent.

Other advantages are like, there will not be any commitment with a single brand, and you can recommend any brand to the client, as per their requirement.

After getting advice from a consultant, the customer will approach an EPC (Engineering Procurement and construction) contractor to proceed with his project.

Become an EPC Contractor:

EPC contractor’s bags a project from the government or private sector, do the engineering works like design and planning, procure the material from the distributor or manufacturer, and execute the project through his team.

Sometimes EPC contractors hire solar sub-contractors to do the execution or the installation work.

How to become an EPC contractor?
After making proper market research get an office space on rent, register your company & get required licenses and certificates from the government and local authorities.

You need manpower to handle both office and site tasks. In the office, you need staff for cost estimation, design, planning, marketing & accounts departments, etc.

If you are planning a small scale EPC, then you can assign multi-tasking to your staf.
For site works, you require a supervisor or foreman, skilled and un-skilled labors, drivers, etc.

How to get projects?
Start bidding in both government and private sector projects. In the initial stage work with low-profit margins to get some experience.

Getting a project, in the beginning, might be a bit difficult.

This is because you will not be having successfully executed project lists to gain the client’s trust.

So you can start with small projects in the first few months, then you can step into bigger ones. Solar Installation Business Plan

If you have experience in the solar industry then you can easily start a solar installation business.

If you are a newbie, then you can join any training courses and get enough knowledge in the field.

Solar installers can tie-up with EPC contractors, to work as a solar sub-contractor. Here you will be working under EPC contractor to install their designed products.

Since most of the EPCs have their own team for installation, it would not be an easy task to get a tie-up with one.

So getting direct clients is very important because you cannot depend on third-party contractors.

Start executing small residential projects, get some experience, and gradually increase your contacts.

Begin with a sole proprietorship registration and set up a team for executing the work.

Solar Service and Cleaning Business Plan:

One of the best solar business opportunities is starting a solar service and cleaning business. This doesn’t require big investment compare to other solar business plans we have discussed.

There is a need for solar service and cleaning jobs because clean solar panels produce comparatively more electricity than dirty panels.

And since solar panels are located at rooftops, many customers would prefer to hire somebody to keep their solar panels clean rather than clean them themselves.

How to start?
Get some knowledge about the solar cleaning process and understand the need for cleaning service in your locality.

Register as a sole proprietor and get GST certification.

You need a used vehicle for transportation of labor and tools to the site. Require Basic tools like Water Fed Cleaning Pole, Ladders, Hose, Sprayers, Cleaning Solution, Etc.

Running a solar cleaning business can be done by 1 person, however, it’s not going to be easy.

In the beginning stages of starting your solar cleaning company, you can start out by yourself and get experience in every aspect of your business. Later as you grow you can hire 2-3 people to help you in the process.

Marketing options for solar cleaning?
Market your business using Contacting EPC contractors, Flyer and brochure marketing to EPC contractors, use social media advertising, Door to Door hangers/brochures to residential locations, etc.

You can also make annual agreements with residents and EPC contractors by offering some discounts.

Selling Solar Products:

If you do not have any knowledge in the solar industry and you don’t want to invest much in the business then the best option will be selling solar products in the market as a retailer.

There are lots of solar products which are already in the market or going to be launched very soon with the thriving demand for solar products.

Products like solar pumps, solar attic fans, solar lights, solar PV, solar thermal systems, even solar chargers, and many other solar products are there which you can sell in the retail market.

Get a Shop and Establishment registration, rent a small shop & get GST registration done.

You will find many solar product dealers in your area, who can supply the variety of solar products as per the requirement in your area.

I hope this guide to solar power business will help you get started. If you have any additional suggestions, feel free to mention them in the comments section below.

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