Solar Industry Nov, 28 2014

How to start a solar biz

Though the total CDIT retail market is worth Rs. 137,750 crore and is growing at 19-21 per cent with expectation to cross Rs. 231,696 crore by 2017 but as per the industry reports, the total solar industry is also estimated at approximately Rs 400 crore a

By Yamini S Verma, TFW Bureau
Sr. Sub-editor
How to start a solar biz

With the growing demand and awareness for cheap solar panels, more and more people are opting for solar panel business as a lucrative business. The benefit of such a kind of business is that the investment required is minimal while the returns are high. Well, here is a glimpse to the eco-friendly way of generating power via the solar renewable energy panels, that is gripping rage not only in rural areas but in urban too.

Though the Consumer Durables Information Technology (CDIT) have made the complex lives of people easier with electronic and electrical goods, but India’s solar market is also worth billions of dollars over the next decade. With reducing resources and increasing prices of power supply for both domestic and commercial use, solar renewable energy industry has opened gateways for small and large scaled entrepreneurs. Not only this, the industry is set to offer lucrative job avenues for the franchisees, dealers and distributors.

Solar Market

According to a white paper published by Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) in collaboration with KPMG- If the government supports domestic solar equipment manufacturing industry; it could benefit $ 1.1 billion over the next ten years owing to improved energy security, job creation and huge forex savings.

Despite the fact that due to the disposable income and the advancement of technology, the demand for various CDIT goods has increased drastically in India but solar renewable energy industry is also pegged to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future. Gradually, the awareness for solar energy among people has made it a strong contender for cheaper and eco-friendly resource of power. Various indigenous and foreign solar power brands forayed into the Indian market via the franchise route for aggressive pan-India expansion to gain quicker and higher returns.

A renewable biz model

The retailers as well as the customers are becoming aware of the fact that solar energy enabled equipments are better and cheaper than the electrical goods. Also solar power industry has created a lot of potential and promising careers to the business players for the growth and expansion of the brand. Brands like Madhuri Solar, King Sun, Solar Basket, MF Energy and many more offers solar power solutions across the country.

The demand is huge compared to the brands offering solar power panels for corporate and domestic utility leading to enormous potential in this sector. There are varied solar panel brands that are operational via their partners in different parts of the country. Also the government is offering great schemes at subsidised rates and incentives in many states to those who want to take up manufacturing and installation of solar power panel as profession.

As per B Narendra, Director- Marketing, Solar Basket: “The future is all about the solar energy. Seeing a lot of power cuts, rise in the fuel prices and shutdown of power plants, the opportunity has increased. There is lot of open area to be explored. Many people purchase duplicate products and do not get benefits of the solar energy. In order to counter this issue, we deal with individual requirement differently. We design according to the customer requirement with wide range of pricing structure.” 

A Delhi-based solar energy panel brand, King Sun, boasts to have come up with more innovative solar energy products to cater to the society needs. King Sun is a sub-brand of Bhambri Enterprises that is operational via four franchisees in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, North East and Chhattisgarh. It has developed a complete structure for the franchisees with complete marketing methodology, operational processes and business model. It has also tied up with a micro finance company and will be leveraging this to the franchisees in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to begin with.

MF Energy also known as Mainframe Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd, is a brand that also hails from Delhi and has end-to-end solutions for the retail market and offers tailor-made products with good quality management. The brand has presence at 28 locations out of which 14 are franchisee-run. Jitendra Narayan, CEO and Founder Member, MF Energy says:  “Solar energy panel business is feasible via the franchise route. Franchising is one business model with assured returns, the risk is very less and solar industry apart for OTC (over the counter ) sell. We provide opportunity to the franchisees to jointly participate in tenders and work in private projects, which can come with handsome revenue over the period of time.”

Another Pune-based, Madhuri Solar by Pearl Enterprises is a firm believer in the  nuclear power. The brand is known for its numerous innovations in the solar sector. Madhuri Solar developed its franchise network in 2012 and now has around 27 franchisees in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The brand takes pride of the fact that it provides employment opportunity to numerous rural women in and around Kolhapur by letting them manufacture circuits under Madhuri Solar brand.

Talking about the player from Vijaywada, Solar Basket started franchising very recently in 2013 and has already made 30+ franchisees pan-India.

Related: Start your Solar Franchise Business

Black Spots in the biz

As the solar renewable energy industry is at its nascent stage in India, the investors as well as the consumers are needed to be updated. Lack of awareness and proper education for environmental friendly life is a drawback for this industry. For any growing industry each region and each season has a unique set of challenges to overcome. 

Ruchi Bhambri, Partner, King Sun says: “Lack of awareness and promotion of solar energy enabled devices among people are major challenges for us. It requires a lot of effort, manpower and adequate strategies to make consumers understand the concept of solar power over other electrical commodities. Secondly, in the past, many companies failed to provide good services to the customers leaving bad impression for solar devices. This needs to be dealt with proper plan and policy. Certainly, we see as people are becoming more and more conscious about the environment, the coming age would be solar age as the electricity bills increasing year after year. Inspite of such hindrances, the solar sector is pegged to grow in recent time to come.”

It’s only a matter of time and awareness associated with the solar renewable energy industry, but with the govt. support, more people are taking up this option. Narayan opines: “Government’s various schemes and incentives would definitely give boom to the industry. Now a roof top solution has opened door to a retail business that offers renewable energy solution. Now a few players are working in organised manner in this industry and we are proud to be the part of it which is effectively providing solutions to clients.”

Talking on the same line, Sanjay Deshmukh, Founder, Madhuri Solar adds: “Promotional effort needs to be put in on a large scale including trainings and support. Also the Indian government has recognised the potential in the Solar industry and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has launched an ambitious program in 2010 called Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission to deploy 22,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2020. The program has seen limited success with phase I, meeting its PV targets and phase two is on the way in the form of 750 MW via the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) program. In addition to this, there are various provisions made by the Government of India for supporting the solar projects. So, definitely the future is bright for solar industry with lesser challenges.”

Seeking partners

With the aim to spread the fast emerging solar industry, most brands plan to expand via franchising across India. Solar Basket plans to open 150 outlets in the next financial year in the tier-II and III cities. King Sun plans to open at least ten outlets in tier-II cities by 2015. MF Energy deals in installing, commissioning, distribution, import and export of all kinds of solar power systems and offers exceptional nationwide sales expertise for investors interested in exploring solar for their home or business.While Madhuri Solar looks forward to develop its franchise network all over India. In the initial stage, it plans to tap Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa and Karnataka.


Energy saving devices - LED’s bulb, tube lights.

Solar power systems – solar lanterns and lamps, solar water heaters, end to end solutions, customised solutions for roof top grid and off grid systems.


Related: Focused on expanding retail footprint via franchise partners: Prakash Wakankar, BabyOye

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