Solar Farm Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their solar farm business. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a solar farm business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
Download our Solar Farm Business Plan Template here >
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your solar farm business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a solar farm, or grow your existing solar farms, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your solar farms in order to improve your chances of success. Your solar farm business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Sources of Funding for Solar Farms
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a solar farms are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a solar energy farm business.
The second most common form of funding for a solar farms is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Venture capitalists will not fund a solar farms. They might consider funding a solar farms company with a locations across the country, but never an individual location. This is because most venture capitalists are looking for millions of dollars in return when they make an investment, and an individual location could never achieve such results.
How to Write a Business Plan for a Solar Farm
Your business plan should include 10 sections as follows:
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your solar farm business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.
The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of solar farms you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have an existing solar farms that you would like to grow, or are you operating a network of solar farms?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the solar energy industry. Discuss the type of solar farms you are running. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target market. Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company analysis, you will detail the type of solar farms you are running.
For example, you might operate one of the following types:
- Crystalline Silicon Power Plant: this type of solar farms uses Crystalline Silicon PV technology.
- Thin-Film Solar Power Plant: this type of solar farms uses cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar panels.
In addition to explaining the type of solar farms you operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the solar farm business.
Include answers to question such as:
- When and why did you start the solar farm business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, number of new attractions, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the solar energy industry.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the solar energy industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies industry trends.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the market analysis section:
- How big is the solar farms industry (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your solar farms service. You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section of your solar energy business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
These are the main customers for the industry: Solar Power Utilities, and Federal Government.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of solar farms you operate. Clearly, commercial utilities would want different products and services, and would respond to different marketing tactics than government entities.
Try to break out your target market in terms of their location, and their wants and needs. With regards to location, include a discussion of the demand for solar energy for utilities’ renewable power portfolio standards. Because most solar farms primarily serve customers living in their same region, such information is usually available on local or county government websites.
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Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your solar farm business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other solar farms projects.
Indirect competitors are other options customers may use that aren’t direct competitors. This includes traditional energy suppliers, other alternative energy providers, and other power plant contractors, such as fossil fuel and other renewable energy power plant contractors. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not all energy needs will be met by a solar farms.
With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other solar farms with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be solar farms located very close to your location.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of customers do they serve?
- What types of renewable energy technology do they use?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you use cutting-edge solar technologies?
- Will you provide options or automations that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you make it easier or faster for customers to engage your services?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a solar farm business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product: in the product section you should reiterate the type of solar farms that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific services you will be offering.
Price: Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.
Place: Place refers to the location of your solar farms. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your solar farms located in a high-sunlight exposure area, or in a desert, etc. Discuss how your location might allow you to serve a greater volume of customers.
Promotions: the final part of your solar farms marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Advertising in trade magazines
- Attending trade shows
- Attending networking events
- Joining local organizations
While the earlier sections of your solar energy business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your solar farms, such as researching and writing grants, maintaining solar panels, staying abreast of new technology developments, processing paperwork, etc.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to sign your 100 th contract, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to purchase additional solar panels, or when you expect to launch a new solar farm location.
To demonstrate your solar farms’s ability to succeed as a business, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in renewable energy or in power generation. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in renewable energy and/or successfully running small businesses.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.
Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $1,000,000 on building out your solar farms, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $1,000,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a solar farms business:
- Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
- Cost of equipment
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business and liability insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your solar farm design blueprint or location lease.
Putting together a business plan for your solar farms company is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the solar farm industry, your competition and your potential customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful solar farms.
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Solar Farm Business Plan FAQs
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Solar Farm Business Plan Template
Solar farm business plan.
You’ve come to the right place to create your Solar Farm business plan.
We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their solar farms.
Below is a template to help you create each section of your Solar Farm business plan.
Helios Solar is a startup Solar Farm company located in northern New Mexico. The company was founded by husband and wife team Derek and Meri Smith. Derek has deep experience in the construction industry, and Meri has a background in accounting. The combination of these skills positions the couple to succeed in building and maintaining a solar farm. What’s more, Derek and Meri already own a 250-acre tract of land in sunny New Mexico.
Helios Solar has designated 50 acres on which it will install crystalline silicon solar panels with sun tracking technology. It will begin as a 5MW farm, with ample land for capacity growth. The company will keep abreast of solar technology innovations as it grows.
Helios Solar will offer wholesale electricity to established utility companies in New Mexico and surrounding states.
Helios Solar will be owned and operated by Derek and Meri. Derek will oversee the physical operation of the farm, while Meri will oversee the administrative side.
Derek Smith has a background in construction, and is a graduate of Solar Energy International, and subsequently earned a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification as a PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist.
Meri Smith is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She has been working at a local accounting firm for over a decade as a CPA. Meri’s experience in accounting has given her the skills to manage the company’s finances, and the knowledge to steer the company to financial stability and success.
Helios Solar will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:
- Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly qualified PV experts
- An ideal location in New Mexico, with ample room for expansion
Helios Solar is seeking $2 million in debt financing to launch its solar farm. The funding will be dedicated towards installing solar panels and payroll of the staff until the farm reaches break even. The breakout of the funding is below:
- Hardware (modules, inverters, mounts, etc.): $1.7 million
- Office equipment, supplies, and materials: $10,000
- Overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $200,000
- Marketing costs: $10,000
- Working capital: $10,000
To supplement its funding requirements, Helios Solar intends to apply for government grants and take advantage of incentive programs for the installation of solar equipment.
The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Helios Solar.
Who is helios solar.
Helios Solar aims to deliver utility-scale solar power, starting with a 5MW capacity. The husband and wife team is highly qualified and experienced in PV maintenance, accounting, and financial reporting.
Helios Solar History
Helios Solar is owned and operated by Derek and Meri Smith, a former construction manager and certified PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist (Derek), and CPA (Meri). Derek has worked for a large construction company and oversaw a variety of construction projects in the Albuquerque metro area. Derek’s tenure with the construction company, as well as his education in PV maintenance, combined with Meri’s financial acumen has given them the skills and knowledge required to venture out and start their own company. Derek and Meri have been awarded contracts with two large utility companies, which guarantees Helios Solar stability while they work to increase capacity.
Since incorporation, Helios Solar has achieved the following milestones:
- Registered Helios Solar, LLC to transact business in the state of New Mexico.
- Has cleared and prepared a 5-acre parcel of land for PV installation, and constructed an office building nearby.
- Reached out to numerous utilities in order to start getting wholesale contracts.
- Began recruiting PV maintenance workers, and office personnel to work at Helios Solar.
Helios Solar Services
The Solar Power industry is expected to grow over the next five years to over $18.3 billion.
The growth will be driven by the large expansion of government spending is set to support the industry as the push toward renewables accelerates. Electric power consumption is expected to increase slightly, but is expected to continue its shift toward renewable sources and away from fossil fuels.
The Solar Power industry in the United States is growing rapidly, underpinned by a combination of favorable government incentives and consistent technological advancements. Furthermore, solar power falls into the emergent green energy sector and benefits from rising public and private support.
Costs will likely be reduced as PV panels continue to gain efficiency and manufacturers compete to drive down the price of producing the panels. Solar Farms have also benefited from attractive tax credits and requirements for downstream utilities to diversify energy holdings and integrate renewable energy into their portfolio.
Demographic profile of target market.
Helios Solar will target utility companies in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.
The precise data for these target states are:
Helios Solar will primarily target the following customer profiles:
- Non-profit utility companies
- Corporate utility companies
- Government administered utilities
Direct and indirect competitors.
Helios Solar will face competition from other companies with similar business models. A description of each competitor company is below.
Sunrise Solar Power Plant
Sunrise Solar is a 794 MWp (614 MWAC) photovoltaic power station in California, near the Mexican border. The facility was developed and constructed in three phases.
The first phase was commissioned in 2014, and supplies 266 MW under a 25-year agreement. The third phase was commissioned in 2018, and provides 328 MW using 2.8 million thin film panels. Phase two was commissioned in early 2020, and provides 200 MW.
The plant users more than 3 million thin-film CdTe photovoltaic modules and 138 skids which rotate on a north-south axis tracking the path of the Sun, and produces enough energy to power 72,000 homes.
Sun Mountain Solar Facility
The Sun Mountain Solar Facility is an 802 megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant. The plant entered service on December 1, 2010. It is co-located with three other solar projects in the region, thus forming a more than 1 gigawatt (GW) solar generating complex.
100 GW·h/year from phase 1 has been sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). Power generated from phase 2 has been sold under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).
This solar complex creates enough electricity to power 200,000 homes. It sits on 4,000 acres of land and has about 4.3 million solar panels. The facility has been built in phases and the first one came on line in 2010, with the rest following in 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2021.
Badlands Solar Park
Badlands Solar Park is one of the largest solar parks in the US. The park is spread over a total area of 7,000 acres, and has a total capacity of 2,000 MW. It is expected to eventually have a total capacity of 3,000 MW. The project is a joint effort between state-owned energy companies, which provide electricity across the country. Construction on the Badlands Solar Park began in 2016.
It was built in four phases:
- Phase I – 420 MW of capacity
- Phase II – 250 MW of capacity
- Phase III – 500 MW of capacity
- Phase IV – 250 MW of capacity
Helios Solar will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:
- Local, family-owned operation, with highly-qualified PV experts
- Helios Solar stays abreast of all technology developments, takes care of all maintenance and property improvements, and delivers an accurate and complete set of financials each month.
- Helios Solar offers the best pricing in town. Their pricing structure is the most cost effective compared to the competition.
Brand & value proposition.
Helios Solar will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:
- Highly-qualified team of PV experts that provide a comprehensive set of solar services (financial, accounting, marketing, maintenance, and improvements).
- Unbeatable pricing to its clients – Helios Solar does not mark up its services at a large percentage. They will offer the lowest pricing in the region.
The promotions strategy for Helios Solar is as follows:
Professional Associations and Networking
Helios Solar will become a member of solar associations such as Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), American Council on Renewable Energy (ACRE), and Solar Energy International (SEI). They will focus their networking efforts on expanding their brand recognition and relevance.
Helios Solar will invest in professionally designed print ads to display in programs or flyers at industry networking events.
Helios Solar will maintain a well-organized and informative website, which will list all their services. The website will also list their contact information. The company will also hire a digital marketer to enhance their website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that Helios Solar’s website will be well-positioned at the top of internet search results.
Helios Solar’s pricing will be moderate and on par with competitors so clients feel they receive value when purchasing their services.
The following will be the operations plan for Helios Solar.
- Meri Smith will be President of the company. She will oversee the office and manage client relations.
- Derek Smith will be CEO of the company. He will oversee field operations: performing installation, maintenance, and upgrades to the solar array.
Helios Solar will have the following milestones complete in the next eight months.
5/1/202X – Finalize construction of office space
615/202X – Finalize property preparation and solar array planning
8/1/202X – Installation of racks and mounts
12/1/202X – Installation of solar array
12/15/202X – Begin networking at industry events
1/1/202X – Helios Solar opens its office for business
Key revenue & costs.
The revenue drivers for Helios Solar are the electricity fees they will charge to utility companies for their services. Most other solar energy wholesale companies charge $83 per MWh; Helios Solar will initially charge $80 per MWh.
The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required to maintain and upgrade solar arrays. The major expenses will be payroll, and hardware purchases.
Funding Requirements and Use of Funds
The following outlines the key assumptions required to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and to pay off the startup business loan.
- Number of MWh Per Year: 1,750
- Average Fees: $27/MWh
Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, solar farm business plan faqs, what is a solar farm business plan.
A solar farm business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your solar farm business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.
You can easily complete your solar farm business plan using our Solar Farm Business Plan Template here .
What are the Main Types of Solar Farm Businesses?
There are a number of different kinds of solar farm business , some examples include: Crystalline Silicon Power Plant and Thin-Film Solar Power Plant.
How Do You Get Funding for Your Solar Farm Business Plan?
Solar farm businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding. This is true for a solar business plan, a solar energy business plan and a solar panel business plan.
What are the Steps To Start a Solar Farm Business?
Starting a solar farm business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.
1. Develop A Solar Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed solar farm business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.
2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your solar farm business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your solar farm business is in compliance with local laws.
3. Register Your Solar Farm Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your solar farm business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.
4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your solar farm business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.
5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.
6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.
7. Acquire Necessary Solar Farm Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your solar farm business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.
8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your solar farm business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.
Learn more about how to start a successful solar farm business:
- How to Start a Solar Farm Business