If you want to start a business you must be thinking of entering the solar industry which has a high CAGR (cumulative annual growth rate) of over 30%. It’s still a small industry in India which means there is less competition and you’d probably succeed if you enter it. That being said, it always works out best to be prepared before entering any industry.
Broadly, as an EPC you could be setting up megawatt scale projects or smaller rooftop projects. With the split of the target of achieving 100 GW (by 2022) being 60 GW and 40 GW respectively, rooftop is an easy yet a rewarding segment to enter. Following are the points you may want to consider before entering.
What it takes?
- Register yourself as a company- If you are running a business, you are liable to pay tax for which you need a TIN number (1-2 months process)
- Source of leads- For running a service based business, you need to have customers with a demand for the services you offer. So, you should be operational in a place where there could be demand for going solar. (Example- places with erratic power supply, states with net-metering/gross metering, states with high power tariffs etc.)
- Understand the solar EPC process- Have a grasp on the work that goes into installing a solar system on a rooftop. The entire Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) process is briefly described as follows:
- Site Analysis: Conduct site survey, perform shading analysis (Laser devices)
- Need assessment: Recommend type of system to customer based on needs (battery backed, grid synchronous or hybrid system)
- System sizing: Recommend a system size based on the sanctioned load and usage patterns of the customer
- Technical matching of components: Recommend ideal combination of components to optimize system performance. You should understand the standing of various brands of components in the market
- Procure components: On approval from the customer, the job of procuring components falls in the purview of the EPC following which the system in set up
- System maintenance: Recommend a plan to maintain the system
- After sales support: Since solar is new for end customers, flawless after sales support is critical in encouraging adoption of solar and building trust
- Warranty: Once the system is set up, you need to pass on the component warranties to customers. In addition, you need to provide at least a year’s system warranty. MNRE recommends 5 years for its channel partners.
- MNRE channel partnership: Become MNRE’s channel partner for easier access to projects and to build trust among customers
- Working capital– To be able to start this business, you will need a working capital of 70% of project cost. So depending on the accessible capital you have, you decide the scale you can start with
How much time will it take?
- Company incorporation- 2 months
- Procuring components- 1 week
- Solar EPC process (plant commissioning)- 15 days
- Net-metering procedure- 2 months
Establishing yourself as an EPC is more a function of the number of projects you execute than the time you have been in the market. However, if you lack the working capital or contacts/ leads to begin in the industry yet don’t want to lose out on time, you could be Solar Advisor. We help you explore the market and give you support do so. All you need to do is become Sunkalp’s Solar Advisor. Click here to register for free!