For some time now, the solar energy business has been very lucrative because of the unreliable power supply in the country. In this post, you will learn how to start a solar energy business in Nigeria.
What is solar energy?
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar power is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy.
Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available on earth. Home, offices, industries, and commercial centres can harness this energy for various uses.
Is the solar energy business profitable in Nigeria?
Yes, it is. It’s a fact well known that solar energy businesses are very profitable in Nigeria, due to the erratic power supply in the country.
At first, it wasn’t that lucrative because people felt spending money on solar energy products is a luxury that was only meant for the wealthy.
In fact, some Nigerians still feel that way to date. However many are now enlightened on its long-term benefits.
Today, solar energy businesses are now profitable in Nigeria and you can make lots of money from it.
How to start a solar energy business in Nigeria
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a solar energy business:
1. Choose a solar energy business niche and focus on it
There are 4 different categories you can choose from when starting a solar energy business in Nigeria. They are listed below.
- Manufacturing of inverters and other solar energy products
- Selling of solar energy products (either as an affiliate or an established distributor)
- Installation of inverters and other solar energy products
- Maintenance and repair of inverters and other solar energy products
2. Register your solar energy business in Nigeria
Once you have done your research and decided on which solar energy business you want to start, you should start making plans on how to register your business.
You can register as a sole proprietorship or as a limited liability company.
If you don’t register your solar energy business, you can’t be a manufacturer (that’s for sure). Even if you decide to venture into sales, installation or repair, you will still have to connect with companies larger than yours.
And to do that, you have to register your business to look more professional and credible. Also, buyers will trust you more. An inverter costs a very huge amount of money. Some people have been saving money for it for years.
Whenever such buyers want to buy, install or repair an inverter you can’t expect them to patronize someone whose business is not even registered.
Read: How to register a business name in Nigeria
3. Draft a business plan for your solar energy business
After choosing a business category and registering it, the next step is to draft a business plan for your solar energy business.
A business plan is a document that shows the aims and objectives of your business. It will also highlight the strategies to achieve them.
This will not only help you achieve the short and long-term objectives of your business but also help you secure contracts with larger solar energy companies.
Also, a business plan will help you convince investors to raise investment capital for your business.
Read: How to write a business plan
4. Get an office space or physical business address
This is not compulsory for installers and affiliate sellers. However, inverter manufacturers, distributors, and repairers don’t have a choice in this.
Most of the day-to-day activities needed for their solar energy business to run will have to take place in an office or workshop.
5. Market your solar energy business and get your first customers
After making your decision concerning the physical address situation, the next thing to do is to start looking for customers.
Note that your customers will vary depending on the type of solar energy business you start. Here are some ways to get your first customers.
- By physically telling other people about what you do
- Collaborating with other solar energy businesses
- By running social media ads
- Running search ads and targeting the locality where your business is located
- Convince or pay influencers and celebrities to promote your business
- Carry out market research on Google and learn easy ways to get customers for your type of solar energy business
Read: How to market a business in Nigeria
Types of solar energy businesses that you can start in Nigeria
Below are various types of solar energy business that you can venture into:
1. Solar energy product manufacture
Being a manufacturer is the most technical aspect of any business. You are at the top of the product chain. This means you need very large capital investment, training, and licenses to start this solar energy business.
Also, being a manufacturer means that you have to maintain stringent standards and also follow rules laid down by certain regulatory bodies.
Here are some solar energy manufacturing regulatory bodies and legislative bodies in Nigeria.
- The Companies Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2004
- The Companies Regulations, 2012
- Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission’s Regulations for the Application for License (Generation, Transmission, System Operations, Distribution & Trading), 2010
- Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005
2. Selling of solar energy products
In this case, you will be a distributor or an on-demand retailer. One thing about this solar energy business category is that it doesn’t require a huge startup capital like the manufacturing type.
You only need to visit these companies and negotiate a price with them. Once an agreement is reached, you can start looking for buyers.
If you are an on-demand retailer, you will be given everything you need to excel, including the pictures and specs of each solar energy product.
You can then start recommending them to potential buyers. You can also post them on your social media platforms and advertise them.
If an interested buyer approaches you and makes a partial payment, you will place an order from the manufacturing company that you had an agreement with.
You will sell to the buyer at an agreed price, and pay the supplying company while also keeping your profit.
If you don’t know where to start, or which solar energy company to visit, here are some solar companies you can start with.
- Astrum Energy Solutions Ltd, Enugu
- GreenPower Overseas Ltd, Lagos
- Infinite Solar Solutions Nigeria Ltd, Abuja
- Luminity Technologies And Gadgets, Lagos
- Mpower S.E Nig Ltd, Abuja
- BERSH (Solar House) Ltd, Lagos
- Haipo Solar, Delta
- Phlemin Integrated Global Ltd, Lagos
- Frepower Technologies, Lagos
- VPS Energy, Lagos
- GEKEL Integrated Ventures Ltd
- ICellPower Energy Ltd, Lagos
- Orgone Technergy Ltd, Kaduna
- Raph Mart Engineering Services Ltd, Lagos
- Indra Power NG, Abuja
3. Help buyers install their solar energy products
Not all solar energy businesses have extra employees that can go from house to house or climb ladders on behalf of each buyer.
This means that most solar energy product buyers will need someone to help them install their inverter. Note that you need good knowledge of electricity and house-wiring before you can venture into this category of the solar energy business.
If you’re an electrician and can climb rooftops very well, you’re good to go. You only need to learn a few things about solar inverters and other solar products.
After that, meet and arrange a contract with sellers of solar energy products in your town. They will inform you whenever a buyer buys an inverter and needs an expert to set it up.
4. Maintenance and repair of solar energy products
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Electrical (and technology products in general) will always need maintenance, develop faults or get damaged at intervals.
This solar energy business type is always overlooked in Nigeria. To be honest, quality inverters won’t have faults every day. But remember, a single repair will bring a big profit to your business.
If you can have more than 2 repairs in a week, calculate how much your profit will be. Also, don’t forget that you will also make money from a solar energy business by helping users maintain their inverter batteries and refilling.
To venture into this type of solar energy business in Nigeria, you need very sound technical know-how. You will have to enroll in an inverter engineer’s workshop and learn as a student or apprentice.
Note: This type of solar energy business also requires connections with sellers and manufacturers. That way, you may be called upon or recommended to customers that need solar inverter services.
Now you know all there is to know about how to start a solar inverter business in Nigeria. We explained how to go about it in 5 steps.
A solar energy business is very profitable in Nigeria, as many people like you are earning millions of naira from it. Also, you can choose from 4 different niches, which makes the whole idea sound more interesting.