16 Questions Every Profitable Solar Startup Should Be Able to Answer

We recently installed a chat feature on HeatSpring so that we could better assist visitors and customers with any questions they may have. Last week, I had a great conversation with a fellow from New Jersey who was looking to start a new company installing solar. He asked me if he could install solar if he took our training. I respond, “Yes, absolutely!” and forward him to an article I wrote on the subject: With this Training, Can I Install Solar? We then began a longer 30 minute conversation that touched on everything from design, branding, sales to what specifically he needs to do to get his new venture going. Based on this conversation I assembled a checklist that every solar startup can run through to help them with their market entry strategy. This is by no means a complete list, but its getting there. If you’re looking for direction and don’t know where to start. This will help.

Remember first things first. First, we’ll discuss getting going, positioning and business strategy, next sales and marketing and last design and installation.

A couple principles I adhere to are, small businesses are all about cash and momentum. Second, be patient about growth but not about profitability. Read past the break for full details and join HeatSpring on facebook to keep the most up to date on free courses, events, tips, resources and news. If you’re a clean energy professional and looking to connect with other solar professionals to collaborate on jobs or best practices, request to join HeatSpring’s linkedin group for Clean Energy Professionals

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6 Ways to Not Waste Your Money on Solar Training

BUYER BEWARE; when purchasing training, there are a lot of training providers coming into the market. Some are good, but some are bad. You’re smart–just do your homework.

Everyone looking to get into solar industry should take some quality technical solar training so they understand how the systems work, how they are designed, solar code and some basics of sales and incentives. It doesn’t matter if you are going to be selling, installing, managing, or designing–everyone will benefit from quality training about solar.

Here’s a list of the top six characteristics of quality training that every contractor should look into when purchasing training to make sure you don’t waste your money.  My goal with those post is not to sell HeatSpring training, but to make sure you get the best training that fits your needs.

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What Is The Value of the NABCEP Certification?

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has become the primary certification entity for the solar industry and they continue to add more certifications. There is continued debate online about the value of the certifications.

Some states are now requiring NABCEP certification, NOT to pull permits, but to apply for incentives that are as critical as permits to completing a project. You can get more information on incentive programs through:

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Solar Licensing Database

Most solar industry professionals who I’ve spoken with have an opinion about NABCEP certification. Here are some of the comments I’ve collected.

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“With this Solar Training, Can I Become an Installer?”

Here’s a question that we get a lot:

After taking your course, will I have enough knowledge to install a complete solar pv system?

It’s one of those questions that is difficult to answer because it’s such a loaded question and there are so many variables.
Here is my response:
It depends.

Here are some things to consider when you’re looking into the installation business. These are relevant whether you’re starting a company, expanding an existing company or if you’re a professional working within a company.
What is your background?
Whether or not our training will prepare you to install a complete solar pv system will depend on your background. What business are you coming from? If you have been a general contractor, electrician or roofer for the past 20 years and now want to do solar, then the answer is most probably yes. It will give you enough information so you’ll know how to design systems. With your background, you’ll most probably have the relationships needed to get subs, pull permits and bid a job. Basically, if you’re coming from the construction business, either residential or commercial, or in a related field, you’re almost 90% there. You just need to learn the solar specific information.

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