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How to Start Solar Panel Installation Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Start Solar Panel Installation Business: Everything You Need to Know

The solar industry has been thriving in recent years. This is thanks to people turning to renewable energy solutions to power their homes.

On top of that, solar installations have increasingly become more attractive thanks to more efficient but less expensive solar panels.

Because of that, we assure you that the solar panel installation industry can be a lucrative sector.

So, if you want to try your hand at this business, we'll walk you through how to start your own solar panel business.

Steps on Starting a Solar Panel Installation Business

Interested in starting a solar panel installation business? Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can do that:

1. Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Before you get your hands dirty, you should think long and hard about whether the solar business is really for you.

This means you'll need to understand everything about solar panel installation — from the industry to the technology.

Since you'll be the boss of your company, ensure that you have good personnel and managerial skills.

The solar panel market is always developing too. As such, you should help your solar panel business keep up with trends without breaking your stride.

2. Pros and Cons

You'll be relieved that there are more pros when you start a solar panel installation business. These include:

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    • High chance of success because of a growing demand
    • Access to government grants and assistance

    As for the cons of a solar installation, expect the following:

    • Large upfront investment
    • Complicated and labour-intensive operations

    3. Industry Size and Growth

    The industry statistics favour those wanting to enter the solar panel installation industry.

    For one, the market size in the UK has grown 18.3% yearly from 2018 to 2023. Furthermore, it's expected to increase by 52.9% in 2023.

    The revenue of this rapidly-growing industry sits at £1.3 billion in 2023.

    If you can play the market right, your business expenses will be worth it.

    4. Trends And Challenges

    To make the most of industry size and growth, you should know the trends and challenges you'll have to work with.

    These trends include:

    • Decreasing the cost of solar cells
    • Increasing demand for renewable energy sources
    • Government adopting policies that support the solar business

    Meanwhile, some challenges you have to overcome are:

    • Supply chain problems
    • Small window of time to enter the competitive landscape

    5. Hone Your Idea

    If you've decided that you definitely want to have your own solar panel installation company, you'll have to improve your idea before entering the market.

    For one, you should conduct market research to understand the industry more. This involves knowing your customers, competitors, and business landscape.

    You can solidify your idea as you write your business plan.

    6. Identify an Opportunity

    In a world where everyone seems to claim they're number one, you should try to stand out so you have a shot at being the best too.

    Check your market research and see if you can fill in any gaps. Decide on your unique selling point (USP) — which will set you apart from your competitors.

    7. Determine Your Products or Services

    If you've chosen a gap you'd like to fill, think of products or services that can help you with that. How different is your solar panel system or solar panel contractors?

    For instance, your local market might need a solar business that does solar panel maintenance and rapid solar panel installations.

    This can immediately attract clients and start word-of-mouth marketing.

    8. Offer Specialised Installation Services

    One idea is to just install solar panels rather than sell them.

    Instead, you'll provide specialised solar panel installation while partnering with solar companies that offer products.

    This idea is one of the most cost-effective ways to start a solar panel business.

    Additionally, it's a great way to get experience installing solar panels. Once you get used to it, you can offer more installation services or even start selling panels too.

    9. Focus on Product Sales

    This idea is where you stock and sell solar panels. Here, it would be a good idea to partner with a solar installer.

    Selling different types of solar panels simplifies your operations since you won't have to outsource fieldwork.

    Once you've generated enough revenue, you can upgrade your business to include installing solar panels too.

    10. Identify Your Target Market

    Identifying your target market helps you customise how you'll market your solar panel business. This also gives you a good foundation since you know which customers to expect.

    Some consumers to consider are:

    • Homeowners (individuals or associations)
    • Manufacturers
    • Schools
    • Retailers (like Target)
    • Nonprofit organisations and hospitals

    11. Choose Your Business Premises

    If your company focuses on solar installations, you can have a home-based business.

    But if you're also selling solar panels, you'll need a warehouse and physical storefront for them.

    When looking for commercial space to be your business location, it should ideally have the following characteristics:

    • Has good ventilation, space, and natural light
    • Doesn't need major renovations or repairs
    • Lease can be extended if needed
    • Accessible via public transport

    12. Brainstorm a Business Name

    Your business name is also the business's identity. It should ideally be:

    • Short, unique, and catchy
    • Easy to say and spell
    • Relevant to what your company offers
    • Not location-based (which can hinder possible future expansion)

    13. Business Structure

    The common business structure types are:

    • Sole proprietorship
    • Partnership
    • Limited liability company (LLC)
    • Corporation

    The kind of legal business entity you become will largely affect factors like your taxes and liability — so choose wisely.

    14. Form Your LLC

    Among the structures we've listed, we highly recommend an LLC.

    That's because it protects your personal assets if your business is sued. On top of that, you experience less regulation and paperwork compared to other structure types.

    You can form the LLC yourself or pay for an LLC service to do it for you.

    15. Register for Taxes

    You'll need to have an official address and choose a SIC code.

    You might be able to register for Corporation Tax simultaneously with registering with Companies House.

    16. Open a Business Bank Account

    Having a separate business bank account and credit card protects your personal assets.

    Furthermore, a business credit card helps you build good credit. This will translate to better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

    17. Fund Your Business

    Solar panels and solar panel installation costs are no joke. As such, you'll need to look for different ways to raise capital. Below are some examples:

    • Bank loans
    • Credit union
    • Government grants
    • Angel investors
    • Crowdfunding
    • Personal funding
    • Friends and family

    While this isn't exactly funding, a solar installation business can also give you solar tax incentives. 

    This lets you save money, so you can allocate it to other avenues to help in business growth.

    18. Apply for Licences/Permits

    You'll need to apply for the relevant licences and permits for your solar panel installation company to operate legally. These include:

    • MCS certification
    • RECC Installer Code
    • Solar contractor licence
    • Residential/home improvement contractor licence
    • Roofing contractor's licence

    Check with your local government which licences and permits you need to operate your solar panel business.

    19. Prepare to Launch

    As opening day approaches, you must check and improve parts of your business. Double-check with any employees or partners you're working with.

    This ensures that everything is as smooth and foolproof as possible once your solar panel business is running.

    20. Essential Software and Tools

    A business requires you to pay attention to various aspects to ensure that it keeps running.

    Fortunately, field service management software can help you with the following (and more):

    • Field service crew management
    • Client management
    • Scheduling
    • Invoicing
    • Task allocation
    • Payroll

    21. Accounting

    If you know basic accounting, you can utilise accounting programs to help you keep on top of things.

    But if you're unfamiliar with accounting, it's best to hire a professional. After all, incorrect tax documents and other money matters can harm your solar panel business.

    22. Develop Your Website

    A business website can largely boost your online presence. Your site should also showcase your expertise and professionalism.

    Using services like Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace can make website development affordable. However, if you're not tech-savvy, it's better to hire a web developer to do it for you.

    That's because planning how to build a website can be time-consuming.

    You can improve your website as your business grows. You can show the different panels you offer. Or, you can have a picture of your solar panel installer installing panels on a house.

    Collect testimonials from previous clients who embraced solar power and availed of your products and services.

    23. Focus On USPs

    Your USPs are what set you apart from your competitors. You'll notice that the market is flooded with options customers can choose from.

    Because of that, you should know from the get-go what makes your company different from other solar businesses.

    Include your USPs in your company tagline and ensure it stands out on your website and other promotional materials.

    24. Networking

    Personal and professional networks can be a source of untapped business potential that can score you some prospective clients.

    Of course, reaching out to those with possible connections to anyone interested in solar panels is ideal.

    You might also find someone who's in the solar power industry. If that's the case, you can offer a partnership or see if they can introduce you to other people.

    If you also sell solar panels online, you can consider affiliate marketing. This can boost business and even build relationships with potential partners.

    25. Build Your Team

    The bigger your solar panel business gets, the more important it is to have full-time employees with different roles. These include:

    • Solar photovoltaic installer
    • Sales manager
    • Marketing lead
    • General manager

    You can advertise on sites like Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter or hire a recruitment agency to do the work for you.

    Depending on the role, they don't need to be experts in solar installation (unless you're hiring a solar panel installer).

    At the very least, they should be willing to learn the basics of your solar panel business — from what a solar system is to how solar panel installation works.

    26. Start Making Money!

    Solar technologies are slowly becoming cheaper. On top of that, more people are becoming aware of the benefits of renewable energy.

    Once you've created a comprehensive business plan and prepared (and double-checked) everything, it's time to open your own business!

    Solar Company Licencing & Certifications

    As previously mentioned, your solar panel business must have certain licences and certifications to operate legally.

    Solar Licencing

    The licences your solar panel business should have will depend on where you operate. But some good licences to have can include:

    • TrustMark - government-endorsed
    • NAPIT - licence to practise
    • Solar contractor licence
    • Residential/home improvement contractor licence
    • Roofing contractor's licence
    • Construction licence

    Solar Certifications

    The microgeneration scheme (MCS) is the organisation that has the guidelines that solar panel installers should follow when offering green energy products and services.

    Some solar panel installation certification bodies your business should approach are:

    • MCS
    • NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors)
    • NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers)
    • REA (Renewable Energy Association)
    • STA (Solar Trade Association)

    Establishing a Solar Team

    Ideally, you should establish a team only once your business loan is in place. Here are some quick steps on how to build your first team:

    1. How to Find Salespeople

    Salespeople don't necessarily need to be solar professionals. However, they should be willing to learn about your products and services in-depth.

    On top of that, they should offer great customer service and convince possible customers to avail of your products and services.

    When posting job ads, ensure that it contains the following:

    • Job title
    • Job description
    • List of responsibilities
    • Job location
    • Qualifications (including preferred skills and personality traits)
    • Pay range and benefits
    • Next steps (such as how to apply)

    2. Ramping Up a Team

    For your employees to stay, you should make them want to stay. That means engaging and motivating them so they feel appreciated.

    Some things you can do are:

    • Organise team-building activities
    • Have ambitious but reachable goals
    • Recognise efforts and achievements
    • Support wellbeing
    • Communicate effectively
    • Promote a good work-life balance

    3. Setting Up Compensation Structures

    You want your company to be as fair as possible. As such, you should establish an organisational structure to base your compensation on.

    For one, divide your company into divisions, such as:

    • Sales
    • Marketing
    • Installers
    • HR and Admin

    Then, break them into different gradings and establish the salary range per grading.

    Of course, showing your employees where you got the numbers would be ideal so they won't think you pulled it out of thin air.

    Pro Tips: Avoid These Solar Sales Barriers

    To ensure that you become a successful company, there are some barriers you should avoid or immediately overcome. These include:

    1. Incorrect or Inefficient Designs

    Whether you're creating your own solar systems or partnering with other solar panel sellers, ensure that they have correct and efficient designs.

    If it turns out you sold bad panels, it can negatively impact your business growth — especially if you're just starting out.

    As such, always ensure that your panels adhere to local and national standards.

    2. Electric Quotes From Customers

    You are a solar panel installation company. So, you're concerned with selling and installing solar panels, not providing electricity through solar panels.

    You can clear this up on your website, social media platforms, and other promotional materials.

    This may eventually be tiring to keep repeating yourself. However, this is better than customers asking for electric quotes overshadowing your actual customers who want to avail of a product or service.

    This saves effort on your part too.

    3. Licencing Problems

    Applying for multiple licences and certifications at the same time can get confusing.

    However, try to keep on top of things and ensure you get those licences and certifications before you open your new business.

    If you don't live up to a certain organisation's standards, you'll have to tweak your product until it passes. That will be a huge obstacle if you've already opened your business.

    It's even more of a problem if you've already had panels installed for some clients. If something happens, they can sue your solar panel business.

    4. Solar Leads

    A lead is generated by interested buyers from landing pages, radio and TV commercials, magazine ads, and toll-free numbers.

    These are extremely important and can largely boost your new business.

    Review your systems and get a high-quality lead vendor to ensure you'll profit from your solar leads.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How Much Does It Cost to Start a Solar Panel Installation Business?

    If you want to become a solar panel installer in the UK, it can cost you an investment of around £40,000. Most of this will go to inventory and equipment.

    Of course, this will change depending on how many employees you hire later on and what your digital marketing plan looks like.

    Having a good business plan can help keep your budget on track.

    How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

    Most solar panels can last about 25 years, depending on the manufacturer.

    The main reason for a panel's degradation is natural wear and tear from weather conditions.

    You should inform your clients of this so they know when they can expect to need a new solar panel system.

    You never know — they might be happy with your service and contact you again for another solar panel installation.

    It would also be a good idea to offer good solar panel warranties if the system experiences problems long before the 25 years.

    Do I Need Business Insurance?

    Yes, before you conduct solar installations, ensure you have business insurance. Some kinds of insurance you should have are:

    • Public liability insurance
    • Employers liability insurance
    • Tool insurance
    • Van insurance

    This means your solar panel business funds won't take a hit if an accident happens.

    How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

    This depends on the demand of your region. Many businesses tend to overspend on inventory, and it's important that you don't end up doing that either.

    If your region is rapidly adopting solar systems, then you can stock up. If not, then you won't need so many in your warehouse.

    However, also consider how many solar installers you have.

    If you have only a dozen of them, then it doesn't make sense to stock thousands of panels. After all, you can only accomplish so much solar panel installation with so many people.


    The solar panel industry is thriving, so starting a solar panel business is a good idea.

    However, before you start a solar panel installation business, ensure that it's right for you first. After all, it's a high-investment business — but it's profitable if you do it right.

    Conduct in-depth market research and make a comprehensive business plan. Start as big as your funds allow, but remember to hit the ground running.

    Give your best from the get-go so clients will recommend you to other people. This can largely boost your solar installation business.

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    Mark McShane
    Content Writer
    Mark McShane is a seasoned professional in the solar industry and the owner of Skills Training Group, a leading provider of solar training and education. With years of experience in the field, Mark has developed a deep understanding of the latest trends, technologies and best practices in the industry. His expertise and passion for solar energy have helped countless professionals develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the fast-growing field of solar energy. Whether you’re an aspiring solar professional or an experienced industry veteran, Mark is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enhance their skills and knowledge of the solar industry.
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