We are the official NABCEP PVA training partner of the

2022 NABCEP CE Conference!

Solar Entrepreneurship


Mentorship, Education & Support for Solar Entrepreneurs at Any Stage

Instructors: Kerim Baran, Brian Hayden

Subjects: Other Technology: Business, Solar: Business Growth

Length: 6 modules

Student Rating

9.8 out of 10 (view ratings)
71 students have taken this course


Are you looking to start your own solar business? This course is for you.

This course was created and delivered by Kerim Baran, the founder of SolarAcademy and Brian Hayden, co-founder of HeatSpring. Kerim was co-founder at CivicSolar - a distribution business acquired by CED Greentech in 2019 - but he's built and sold a number of solar and technology businesses. Brian has taught entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship since 2013.

What you will learn:

By the end of this course you will know the most important elements and key functions of a solar installation business: how to source leads, how to market and sell your services, how to design and permit a solar system, where to get your equipment, key aspects of the installation, construction and interconnection process with the utility, the various solar financing options available for your customers, what is involved in providing maintenance services for existing customers.

Electricians already have most of the qualifications needed to be solar installers, and this course will give you the rest to take the leap into the bright future of solar business. But even if you're not an electrician, or have a product-based business in mind we'd love to have you join us.

Solar professionals understand how the solar industry works but may not have experience starting and running companies. This course is also for you.

Designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs (or those considering becoming entrepreneurs) this course includes over 8 hours of on-demand video content as well as access to the instructors via phone (by appointment) and course discussion board (anytime).

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Preview the Course Material

Check out a free preview of the course by clicking the button below. This is a live assignment from the course and will give you a good sense for what the course will be like.

Free Preview - Meet Kerim Baran
Flexible Online Training for Industry Professionals

This online course is self-paced. You can begin instantly upon enrollment.

Access Information and Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world.

Earn A Certificate of Completion

When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.

"Learning entrepreneurship from other entrepreneurs who've been through the process before was very powerful."

- John Fortis

I enjoyed every module of the course, as it serves as an eye-opener to various sales skills, benefits, and opportunities as a solar entrepreneur.

- Ayomide Isaac Orekunrin Engr., Inlaks Limited

Brian and Kerim are the reason why I'm moving forward with these courses. They seem like they have equity in their efforts-are in it to win it!

- Willam Walton Founder/CEO, Willpower

+ Read more student ratings and reviews for this course


Kerim Baran

Founder, SolarAcademy & CivicSolar

Kerim Baran is the founder of SolarAcademy. Kerim is also a serial entrepreneur, investor, and company builder who has built and sold leading technology and solar businesses. Prior to founding SolarAcademy, Kerim co-founded, helped build and sell CivicSolar.com, a leading solar equipment distributor which helped thousands of solar companies get started in solar...[more]

Brian Hayden

Co-Founder, HeatSpring

Founder and Partner at HeatSpring (since 2007) and lecturer at the University of Michigan's Center for Entrepreneurship (since 2013). Brian is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Michigan where he's mentored more than three hundred student startups. He brings those lessons into his teaching. Brian has business degrees from the University of...[more]

Free Preview - Meet Kerim Baran

Course Outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. The course discussion board is a great place to interact with other students and ask questions. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. The instructor-led session runs for the posted dates and you will receive weekly emails to keep you on pace. Course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after the session ends. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (Video - 01:25 minutes) Preview
  • Meet Kerim Baran (Video - 07:40 minutes) Preview
  • Kerim's Course Intro (Video - 03:30 minutes)
  • Brian's Course Intro (Video - 02:52 minutes) Preview
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
  • Tell us what you're working on (Resource)
Module 1 - Fundamentals and Overview of Solar Energy Systems

Fundamentals and Overview of Solar Energy Systems

  • Fundamentals and Overview of Solar Energy Systems (Text)
  • State of Solar in the US & the World (Resource)
  • Solar PV vs. Solar Thermal (Resource)
  • Concentrating Solar Power (Resource)
  • History of Photovoltaic Solar (Resource)
  • Current Trends in Solar Energy (Innovations and Economics) (Resource)
  • How do PV Solar cells work (Resource)
  • Upcoming Innovations (1) (Resource)
  • Upcoming Innovations (2) (Resource)
  • The State of Solar (Video - 27:24 minutes)
  • IBIS World Report: Solar Panel Installation (December 2020) (Download .pdf)
Module 2 - Understanding and Communicating the Economics of Solar (for Residential and Commercial Solar Systems)

  • Solar Math (Video - 10:22 minutes)
  • Understanding and Communicating the Economics of Solar (for Residential and Commercial Solar Systems) (Text)
  • Cost of Solar Systems (Resource)
  • Net Metering (Resource)
  • Demand Charges (1) (Resource)
  • Demand Charges (2) (Resource)
  • Cutting Demand Charges with Battery Storage (Resource)
  • Solar Resource Estimation (Resource)
  • Estimating Economic Feasibility (Resource)
  • Line-by-Line Walkthrough of a 10kw Solar PV Quote (Video - 23:18 minutes)
Module 3 - Key Functions of a Solar Installation Business: Marketing, Sales, Design, Financing

  • Key Functions of a Solar Installation Business (Marketing, Sales, Design, Financing) (Text)
  • Solar Marketing Lecture (Resource)
  • Solar Sales Lecture (Resource)
  • Solar Design Lecture (Resource)
  • Solar Financing Lecture (Resource)
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing (Video - 08:06 minutes)
  • Walkthrough of a Sample Customer Proposal (Video - 11:20 minutes)
  • Examples: 4 Solar Quotes for Brian's Home (Download .pdf)
Module 4 - Key Functions of a Solar Installation Business: Permitting, Procurement, Installation, O&M

  • Key Functions of a Solar Installation Business: Permitting, Procurement, Installation, O&M (Text)
  • Permitting - with Patrick McCabe from GreenLancer (Video - 22:19 minutes)
  • Operations & Maintenance - with Greg Sellers from Stable Solar (Video - 31:44 minutes)
  • Solar Procurement Tips (Text)
Module 5 - Starting & Running the Business

What exactly are you working on? In this module I'd like to turn the spotlight back around on you and learn more about your business and where you're headed.

  • Sales are essential to any business. What if you don't like selling? (Video - 05:36 minutes)
  • OPTIONAL: Schedule a call with Brian (Resource)
  • Tell Your Story - Why & How (Video - 06:28 minutes)
  • Tell Your Story (Text)
  • The Case for Business-to-Business Entrepreneurship (Video - 03:46 minutes)
  • Example Company: Small Residential Solar Installer (Text)
Module 6 - Legal Templates & Startup Tools

Here are some templates and resources that you might need when you're getting started.

  • What's it (Really) Like to Work at a Startup? (Video - 12:03 minutes)
  • Startup Law 101 (Download .pdf)
  • Legal Basics for Solar Startups (Video - 04:36 minutes)
  • Forming the Company (Download .docx)
  • Sample Operating Agreement (Download .docx)
  • Employee Ownership Toolkit (Download .pdf)
  • Office hours recording: Palmetto's model for turning electricians into solar entrepreneurs (Video - 39:08 minutes)
Feedback and Additional Resources

No matter how great this course is, we know it's just one part of a bigger journey. In this module we'll start thinking about what comes next. You'll provide feedback on the course and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to the course materials for 12 months after the session ends. Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership.

  • Schedule a Consultation with Entrepreneur-in-Residence Kerim Baran (Resource)
  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials (Text)
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member (Resource)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)
Free Preview - Meet Kerim Baran

Students who took this course also took

Infrared Imaging as a PV Characterization Tool

Learn how infrared imaging (IR) can be used as a tool to improve operations and maintenance for solar PV arrays.

Solar Executive MBA Training

Rigorous, hands-on business training for solar professionals. Learn all of the skills to finance the commercial solar projects in your pipeline. Includes Excel modeling, legal documents, individual feedback, and weekly conference calls.

Marketing Mastery Masterclass

This intensive course covers marketing basics to advanced strategies. Get more business, more qualified clients, attract the right people to your orbit and make a lot more money. Learn the specific strategies and tactics I used to grow my solar business.