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Tips for starting a photovoltaic company and starting your own business

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Founding a photovoltaic company and becoming self-employed doesn't have to remain a dream. Especially in today's world, when the call for alternative power sources is getting louder and louder, it is worthwhile to found a photovoltaic company. However, there are some hurdles that you will encounter along the way. In this article, we'll tell you what you need to look out for and give you tips to start your PV company.

Founding a photovoltaic company: preliminary considerations

Before you set up your own business and start using photovoltaics, there are a few requirements to be met. In particular, there are special training and continuing education courses that are important for your successful PV company.

You should also — if you haven't already done so — acquaint yourself with the photovoltaic sector. There are many different areas in which you can work here.

  • Do you want to set up a lot of photovoltaic systems and make a living from selling electricity?
  • As a craftsman, do you want to connect, maintain and also plan systems?
  • If manual work is not something you can imagine, there is also the opportunity to become self-employed in the sale of solar systems and to work with subcontractors or self-employed people who do the manual work.
  • Do you specialize in selling photovoltaic accessories?

You can also focus on various target groups: from private individuals to public institutions to commercial customers. Customers are just as diverse as work opportunities in the PV sector.

As you can see, there are many ways to set up your own photovoltaic company. In this text, we specialize more in a photovoltaic assembly company and show you what you need to consider when setting up a company.

Step 1: Education and training to set up a PV company

Anyone in Germany can plan, buy and install a photovoltaic system on the roof (or balcony). The trick, however, is that only a specialist may also connect this system. This is where you come in: If you want to set up a photovoltaic installation company, you can not only take over the connection, but also the maintenance. If you like to advise customers, you can of course also do the previous part and do the planning.

Um eine erfolgreiche Photovoltaik-Montage-Firma zu gründen, brauchen Sie ausreichend Fachwissen. Eine gute Ausbildung ist wichtig.
To set up a successful photovoltaic assembly company, you need sufficient expertise. Good education is important.

However, in order to become self-employed in the photovoltaic sector, it depends heavily on which education and training you have completed. In order to set up a photovoltaic company and manage your own plants, you need to gain expertise. This is one of the most important requirements for a successful PV company.

If you have completed an apprenticeship as an electrician, that is already a good start. However, more knowledge is needed in topics such as system calculation (e.g. on house roofs), construction risks, joint responsibility for systems, for example in the event of defects, standards and regulations when constructing and testing PV systems, as well as knowledge about energy suppliers, utility applications, etc.

In order to gain more knowledge about photovoltaic and solar thermal systems, continuing education is worthwhile. This is called a solar technology specialist, but further training to become a solar system installer is also possible. These training courses are a good start to found a successful photovoltaic company. They last between one and three years.

Sie möchten ein Photovoltaik-Unternehmen gründen und suchen nach einer Förderung für genügend Startkapital? Wenn Sie genügend Kenntnisse und Erfahrungen vorweisen, haben Sie es leichter.
Would you like to found a photovoltaic company and are looking for funding for sufficient start-up capital? If you have enough knowledge and experience, it will be easier for you.

Even if you have not completed an apprenticeship as an electrician, you can consider these continuing education courses. Career changers with other training courses or even people without education and at least a secondary school leaving certificate are often accepted. People with training similar to solar engineers have better opportunities: e.g. carpenters, metal workers, electrical engineers or plumbers, glaziers or heating engineers.

The training not only includes technical knowledge, you will also be trained in dealing with the customer and in consulting. Sales skills are essential, especially at the beginning if you want to found a PV company. After all, you must be able to convince customers of your service.

Step 2: Funding, registrations and documents

Before you become self-employed as a solar engineer, you need more preliminary thinking. It's best to write a business plan. If you are thinking about funding or a loan from the bank, it is even mandatory. However, you should also put it on independently. He not only helps you to found a photovoltaic company and become self-employed, but also to answer important questions for yourself. With a business plan, you can plan more easily and implementation is faster. You can also make initial calculations of how much money you need to start your business.

The business plan

This information should include a business plan so that you can successfully set up your own business in the photovoltaic sector:

  • Market conditions: How strong is the competition in your area? Which companies have the same business idea?
  • Target group: Who is going to use your services? What is the demand for this service in your area? How strong is the purchasing power in your region?
  • Company description: What exactly is your idea? How do you want to implement them? What services do you offer? Which processes do you need for this? But your company also includes you as the founder. What experiences have you had in this area? Where did the idea come from, for example, to found a photovoltaic assembly company? Also mention certificates and special projects that you have participated in.
  • Advertising and distribution: How would you like to advertise your service? How does the target group find your service or company? What type of sales promotion are you planning to use? It can be helpful here to look at the prices for special advertising materials.
  • Financial plan: You should study this in particular detail if you want to found a photovoltaic company. The financial plan is at the heart of your business plan and, in case of doubt, can even show how liquid your first year will be.

In the financial plan, you must write down and offset all costs and expected income in tabular form. If you want to set up a PV company and start your own business, that is essential. Think of any costs that could be incurred, such as rent for an office, salaries or costs for subcontractors, advertising, additional costs for the office or study, etc.

Wenn Sie eine PV-Firma gründen wollen, ist ein Business Plan wichtig. Notieren Sie sich alle Kosten, Prozesse etc., um später besser vorbereitet zu sein.
If you want to start a PV company, a business plan is important. Write down all costs, processes, etc. to be better prepared later.

If you want to set up a photovoltaic assembly company, it is of course also important to think about the purchasing processes. You should definitely consider these in your business plan. Right from the start, you must plan the purchase of consumables well and, above all, select reliable suppliers. Think carefully about what the process should look like in your company. How do you buy materials? How do they get to you and where do you write down which materials are planned for which construction site and then actually used? Always keep an eye on prices, availability, quality and reliability of supplier relationships.

One PV software Like the solutions based on the Ninox low-code platform, help you do just that. The software can plan your inventory levels by itself by telling it which materials are being consumed. You can also receive reminders when certain materials need to be reordered.

Registering the business

In order to ultimately become self-employed as a solar engineer and found a photovoltaic company, a number of registrations must be made:

  • Trade Office: You must register your new company (or even an acquired one) with the trade office.
  • tax office: You need a tax number. You can obtain these from the tax office. After reporting to the trade office, the tax office will automatically contact you with a questionnaire.
  • Commercial register: You only have to register here if you opt for a UG, GmbH or e.K. Small businesses, for example, do not have to be registered here.
  • Accident insurance: After you have set up your photovoltaic company, you need to take out accident insurance. As a rule, the responsible professional association is BG Bau.
  • Chamber of Crafts: If you want to found a photovoltaic assembly company and become self-employed as a craftsman, you must register here. The trade office automatically sends a copy of your company registration to the Chamber of Crafts.
  • IHK: Membership in the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) is necessary if you have to pay business tax. You automatically become a member of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. They will be informed about your new company by district courts, trade offices and tax offices.

Wer sich selbstständig machen und mit Photovoltaik richtig durchstarten will, kommt an dem Finanzamt nicht vorbei.
Anyone who wants to set up their own business and really get off to a good start with photovoltaics cannot ignore the tax office.

3 tips for starting your own business in the photovoltaic sector

In order to become self-employed and really earn money with photovoltaics, you need a few registrations, documents and, above all, time and patience. With our three tips, we want to help you get off to a better start.

Tip 1: Focus on marketing right from the start

Sales promotion can also help you if you already have initial orders. Marketing can be costly in the long run, but building your own brand is the first step to replenishing customers over the long term.

So if you want to set up a photovoltaic company, think about marketing and sales. There are already plenty of free types of advertising that you can use. Depending on the services you offer, this could be a Facebook page or a Facebook group. But a form on your website is also ideal for receiving inquiries from potential customers.

Also be sure to think of the Google company page. This is the box on the right side of Google search when someone searches for your company on Google. Here you can not only enter a telephone number and opening hours, but also publish updates about your company free of charge. You can also see helpful analyses of your target group.

Tip 2: Get off to a better start with funding

If you become self-employed out of unemployment, there may be funding from the employment office. But depending on the region in which you live, there is also funding for new founders.

Do you already know the start-up grant? This is a government funding measure for entrepreneurs. But KfW also provides funding, which you must apply for. For this, you often need a business plan. However, this significantly helps to set up your own photovoltaic company.

Here you are supported not with money, but with experience: You should also consider joining a federal association. Membership is voluntary. However, many federal associations provide support with their own trade fairs or career portals to publicize their vacancies or strengthen their corporate brand.

Sie suchen nach einer guten PV-Software? Auf Ninox basieren viele gute Lösungen, die Sie im Arbeitsalltag unterstützen.
Are you looking for good PV software? Many good solutions are based on Ninox to support you in your day-to-day work.

Tip 3: Use the right software right from the start

Self-employed people often think of the right software too late, but it is important right from the start. The first impulse of founders is to create Excel spreadsheets and thus solve all problems. However, when your company grows, the spreadsheets quickly turn into chaos. Therefore, use software right from the start that grows with your order volume and save you costs and time right from the start. In addition, the right software solution can help make all of your processes more efficient, giving you more time to set up your own company.

Ninox is a low-code platform on the basis of which experts from the PV industry have built some outstanding software solutions. The decisive advantage: Thanks to low-code, you can adapt the software to your needs at any time with little effort and IT knowledge. For example, if you want to hire employees later and need time recording, it is quick and easy to implement in Ninox. You can find more information about this on our information page for the Energy & Supply industry on our website.

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