As we proceed further on in this 21st century, the renewable energy industry is expected to continuing growing. Within the next 20 years, global growth of approximately 400% is estimated as was cited by Beyond Petroleum. One of the leading forces in the use of renewable energy is China and I believe our relationship with them could be used to learn a lot. Locally it seems that the most viable renewable energy sources are hydro and solar. Water is mainly used with regards to electricity generation whilst solar has more uses. Lack of a thorough general understanding of other local sources for renewable energy available is a big problem. The other impediment is the lack of funding – even the government bemoans that lack of progress in that sector is due to funds. Let’s explore some business ideas in the renewable energy sector.
Solar Panel Services
Due to the ailing economy, people have trouble regularly affording the purchase of electricity. It’s even worse in the countryside where most areas aren’t even connected to the national grid, to begin with. There is an increased demand for solar panels to do basic things like charging rechargeable gadgets, lighting and in some instances to establish mini-grids at home or business premises. This means a business in solar panels sales along with other related consumables, distribution to retailers, installation, and repair services are all areas of business opportunity. You can choose to focus on one area or can amalgamate all aspects into one business. For now, solar panels are duty-free at the borders.
Water Heating Systems
Countrywide it’s now the norm that electric-powered geysers are permanently turned off due to the expense of electricity or water supply challenges. Even leisure accommodation spots now struggle to consistently provide hot water in a bid to keep electricity costs at bay. You can set up a viable business of sourcing and installing solar-powered heating systems for various types of clients. The rooftop type of system is quite common, easy to install and is readily available from across the border. Funds-permitting I believe setting up a local manufacturing plant for such systems to be strategic as the tourism & hospitality industry is a ripe market for such services.
Water Pumping Systems
Solar-powered water systems are also steadily becoming commonplace in Zimbabwe. All types of prospective clients from clusters such as individual homesteads, community water-points, commercial, mining and agricultural spots would need such systems. Access to water is a serious issue with most places now having to deal with water rationing, erratic supplies, the unsafeness of water and in some instances lack of water entirely. So you could partner up with some people and make this business initiative a reality.
The business model is simple; remember we are focusing on the solar power field. All you will need to do is to identify bottlenecks in procurement or supply chain channels for those dealing with solar products. You can then develop a business centered on becoming a middle person that will bring convenience for those that have experienced bottlenecks. With good connections in South Africa or China, you could then mediate between suppliers there and retailers here who sell solar panels. The brokerage can also be done online by developing an online platform that brings together suppliers, retailers, and consumers. You can make quite some smart and easy money by just bridging gaps.
Most local micro-financiers charge interests of 10% or even more, monthly – that’s too high. You can come in as a game-changer by providing funding with much lower interest rates. I believe if you target the farming sector business can be lucrative. You can partner with farmers by giving them funding to set up solar systems for irrigation, processing and the like. You’ll know there is a guarantee of repayment based on the certainty of them realizing harvests. The idea would be to only finance those (across any sector) who have robust initiatives that have guaranteed revenue in due course. Another strategic niche could be those looking to set up processing plants that are solar-powered.
I’ve noticed that lots of things aren’t insured as there are very few insurance companies that cover a wide array of things. Since the solar energy industry is growing, money can be made from setting up insurance services for people to ensure their solar products or systems. If you aren’t sure how you can make money through insurance, click here to learn more.
Earlier on I said that there is very limited knowledge on other local renewable energy sources. You can conduct research and come up with creative content for a blog, vlog, podcast or social media platforms. You can then use various types of revenue models to actually make money off traffic that comes your way. If you do well enough and garner a huge following, you can attract high-value ad placement requests that can richly line your pockets.
I’m deeply concerned by the fact that presently, aside from water (which is mainly used for electricity) there is a significant activity only in solar power. There are other renewable energy sources locally that have enormous potential such as wind and geothermal. That’s why I can safely say we have barely scratched the surface in as far as renewable energy is concerned in Zimbabwe.