Our overall economy seems stuck in slow motion, particularly old industries like construction and real estate. The recent stock market gyrations and pundit predictions of a double dip recession lead many to anxiously sit on the sidelines, uncertain what direction to take. Others are taking control of their lives though and starting businesses in new areas that are prospering even as old fields flounder. Green industries like solar energy are an excellent option for many reasons.
Even in the recession the solar industry has grown rapidly in the US, growing 67% in 2010 and continuing to grow rapidly in the first quarter of 2011, according to the recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association. It’s hard to find growth like this in any other industry, and all indications are that the growth of solar will continue for many years to come.
One reason solar power has done well even in the recession is that solar makes financial sense, paying for itself over time. The cost of photovoltaic solar panels has declined rapidly while the cost of power from utilities continues to rise about 6% a year, making solar an increasingly good deal. In some areas such as Hawaii and California, solar energy cost is less than electricity from the grid, reaching grid parity.
Financing options such as solar leases or power purchase agreements help to remove the main objection many people have – seeing money come out of their pocket up front.
And a variety of incentives at the local, state, and federal government level continue to encourage the switch to solar, including recent spectacular growth of the solar industry in New Jersey.
Starting a solar installer business is one business opportunity in the solar market, although this route requires significant technical expertise and resources to get started, and faces stiff competition from large solar installers in some areas.
A new solar business opportunity is to start a sales business as a solar broker. One key advantage of solar brokers is that they are independent of a specific product or installer, so they can work with the client to navigate the solar marketplace, looking a variety of option to find the best solution in each case. The solar broker helps clients to get multiple bids from installers, making the solar sales process simpler, and helping residential or business client to save significant time and money.
Prime Solar Network helps entrepreneurial sales pros to start their own solar sales business as a solar broker. Broker license an exclusive sales territory with the company, and the company helps them to get their business started. As a sales-based business, the startup time and cost for a solar broker business is much lower than to start a solar installer business. Bringing brokers up to speed on solar fundamentals, Prime Solar also provides support for marketing, financing, back office support, web development, and other business basics needed to get started. For those looking for a way to get into the growing solar industry, a solar broker business like this could provide a straightforward route to consider.
With so much uncertainty in the economy, it’s good to see a field like solar energy that holds business opportunities destined for greater growth ahead. The economy is unlikely to move back to where it used to be, but it will move forward with businesses like solar that more and more people from many backgrounds can be a part of.
Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses” and “Starting Green” and the founder of Starting Up Green, helping businesses to start green and grow greener. He can be reached at glenn.croston(at)startingupgreen(dot)com