How to start a solar company
1st month[edit | edit source]
So here I am trying to start a solar company. I have some good background in contracting. I live in Oregon and the sun shines every day. I started reading as much as I could about solar and how to put a PV system together. I read the book YOUr solar Home. I read everything I could find online.
Then I talked with a local electrician to see if they would help with the wiring and the paperwork for the rebates. They said they were already looking into solar but did not have time to put together the sales packet. Next I started with my states website to see all the rebates and rules that would apply to my business. Wow there is a lot of stuff to learn. I brought in a friend or two that had a bunch of experience installing solar panels. So what next. I called my supplier of panels. Platt electric and got a bid for a 3.4 KW system. Wow it is a lot cheaper then I thought. with all the panels and the rack we are looking at around. 7500. I checked around and a system like this goes for. I was suppressed that the cost for a average system installed with a unirac mounting system was around 14000. This is for 12 275 watt solar world panels and a SMA inverter. I am thinking that there is a lot of money to work with I figure it will take some doing to get everything up on the roof.
When I did the math on all the rebates I could sell a system for 13500 and the home owners would get back around 11000. Some of this would be over a few years because the state tax credit pays you 6000 but only 1500 per year. Interesting. So if my numbers are right I could make wages and install the system for almost free. Except the catch. Money. You have to have the 13500 for the system. So the first thing I am going to do is call my banker and see about getting us some loans. I am excited now and have bought a name for the business Cascade Coast Solar. Solar city has web site materials and graphics for free. So that is the next step. I need a client that wants solar and has some money. Or credit. So I checked the wiki and here is where I am headed next.
So the next step is finding financing for my clients. I have found that there is a program called Green Street Lending from Umpqua Bank. This is a program for green projects for home and business. They provide loans with no fees for solar projects. This is what I need to build my business.
Things That I have purchased
1 PF-TC Solar Pathfinder, with tripod $299.00 $299.00 Which is a must according to Home Power Magazine
Books that I purchased to study.
Understanding NEC Requirements for Solar Photovoltaic Systems- by Holt
Photovoltaic Systems 3rd Edition- Dunlop
Web sites for current information on PV
- Solar Buzz
- PV Portal
- Solar Access
- Home Power Magazine
- Photovoltaics World
- PV Tech
- Thin Film Today
2nd month[edit | edit source]
I signed up for a Solar World Factory Training in Oregon. It was great. The instructor,Sara Freel, had tons of PV experience in the field and running her own company. She walked us through some of the hard parts and explained how Solar World helps their installers. We also got to tour the factory which is awesome. If you can I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in getting into Solar. The cost was $250. The hands on stuff was interesting and I will have a lot to share with the electricians that I will be subcontracting the solar installation part of my jobs to. The more I look at this there is a huge part of solar that is in the office and sales. One of the installers joked that it takes six people in the office to one installer in the field. Lets hope that is not true because I hate the office.
So I am really into learning more about solar. Several of the attendees at the Solar World group were from the Us Air Force they had attended a school Called SEI in Colorado. That is my next stop. Classes are not cheap but I met one of the founders of the School at the Oregon Country Fair and he promised that is was well worth it. I have a busy summer so it looks like I will be in the late fall class. If you want more info on Solar World's training check out there web site.