We have touched on the solar subject in some of our articles. With the current power crisis in Zimbabwe, solar energy has become topical. The demand for solar energy products and services keeps surging. Starting a business in that domain right now is bound to flourish. We published an article on what you need to know about starting a solar business in Zimbabwe. You must take time to go through that article. Today we shall focus specifically on the solar installation business. Here is what you need to know about starting a solar installation business in Zimbabwe.
Solar Installation Services Now Highly Sought After In Zimbabwe
There used to be times when it was just solar products that were sought after. That has since changed as more people opt to install solar systems. This comes as no surprise given the incessant load shedding across Zimbabwe. That is why the need for professional solar installation experts is fast-growing. This implies that there are business prospects in this. You can start a business where you offer solar installation services. The good thing about this is that you can double this up by sourcing and selling solar products. The other good thing is that you can start solo.
What Do You Need To Start A Solar Installation Business?
There are basics like business or company registration, setting up a digital footprint, and getting supplies and related equipment. Remember, you can start small, actually just as one person. Thus in starting you may not need much. However, the most important thing you must adhere to is being properly licensed. Not just anyone can install solar systems. There are different types of applicable Solar PV Technician licenses, as follows:
They can design, install, commission, maintain, and repair solar PV systems with a single inverter, single charge controller, and single or multiple solar PV modules not exceeding 400 watts.
The technician can design, install, commission, maintain, and repair: Solar PV systems with a PV array of not more than 2 kW, a single inverter/charger connected to a grid or a backup generator, a charge controller of up to 70 amperes and multiple batteries. They can also design, install, commission, maintain, and repair solar water pumping systems of a capacity of not more than 2 kW.
Here they can design, install, commission, maintain, and repair: Grid-tied solar PV systems of a capacity not more than 50 kW; single phase Hybrid systems not more than 10 kW direct current coupled with a single battery inverter and the technician may connect multiple batteries, and; solar water pumping systems of a capacity not more than 50 kW.
One can design, install, commission, maintain, and repair grid-tied or hybrid or solar water pumping systems of any capacity.
Important To Note On Getting Licensed
NB: Do not cut corners here! If you wish to start the solar installation business and do not have the applicable license, then it is better to work with someone licensed. Licensed individuals should only do the actual installation work. The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) is the body that oversees regulation and licensing. You can always engage them to get more clarity.
You must also have the requisite professional qualification(s) and work experience to apply for the license. As for professional learning or training, you can enrol at reputable learning institutions that offer solar installation courses. There are many in Zimbabwe. For instance, Quayside Technical College in Chishawasha, Harare, offers a 1-Week Solar Installation Course. You can also watch for solar installation training workshops that often occur across the country.
Human And Financial Capital Requirements
Human capital-wise, you can start as one person, at the very least. That is if you are a licensed solar installation technician. Otherwise, you may need to hire at least one more person. Financial capital needs will vary. Again not much may be needed for starters. After all, clients are the ones who bankroll the solar components needed for installation. You would, of course, have to source relevant equipment needed for the installation works.
You may also need a transportation vehicle, office space or some base of operations. Company registration and, in some cases, getting schooled and/or licensed will be needed. Thus it is not particularly easy to figure out the amount of financial capital you need. The refreshing thing is that starting a solar installation business may not be extremely capital-intensive.
The market for solar installation services in Zimbabwe is there. It is fast-growing. The types of solar systems to be installed have various sizes or capacities. The level of sophistication varies too. Thus you have several niching options to consider. That is why it is important to conduct market research to ascertain the best niche(s) to cater to. Clients can span from households to corporates, industries, and so on. The market is vast! It will largely depend on what you can handle financially, materially, and skillset-wise.
The solar installation business thrives on building a solid traceable reputation. This means you should always strive to deliver exceptional work. Then you must turn every completed project into social proof. Build compelling testimonials such that more prospects will come your way. Continually advance your knowledge and understanding of the solar installation industry. If you are known as an expert in the area, that will help you immensely. Do not forget to build a robust and active online presence via a website and social media accounts. Influencer marketing should be your go-to as well. Keep a close on your competitors so that you can figure out how to differentiate your business or company.