Trends in Clean Energy Entrepreneurship
If you’re looking for your next big idea, the clean energy sector might be your best bet. As the climate crisis accelerates, there has been an increased focus on more renewable sources of energy, set to grow exponentially in the coming years. As reported by the Guardian, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in four years. This means a whole new world of opportunities is about to open up for green entrepreneurs. So if you’re planning to be one of them, here are a few ideas from clean energy entrepreneurship.
What is Clean Energy?
To invest in clean energy, you have to understand what it is and how to identify your next business opportunity in that space. Clean energy, as explained by Direct Energy, is produced with little-to-no environmental impact and comes from renewable sources (unlike fossil fuels). It’s inexpensive, stable, and varied — it encompasses solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy.
Clean Energy for the Home
As clean energy gains popularity, getting into sustainable home retrofitting is a viable option for green entrepreneurs. Today, there are many types of clean energy available for the home markets:
An increasingly popular and inexpensive resource, solar energy is as diverse as it is powerful. When it comes to powering homes, solar energy is a great alternative for homeowners and entrepreneurs to invest in. Starting a business that specializes in solar power could have products ranging all the way from heating, to full-home power systems. For instance, solar power can be channeled into water heaters, stoves, other electric appliances, and to power outdoor and indoor lighting. It can also power the entire house through panels that convert sunlight into DC currents and then to AC power that powers your main electrical service panel. These all make for great entrepreneurial opportunities.
From sailboats to windmills, harnessing the power of wind is no new feat. Now, humankind is tapping into the wind as a capturable, stable source of renewable energy. To use wind energy for homes, the most popular choice is installing a wind turbine on your property. While they are noisy and require a steady amount of sustained wind, wind turbines have the potential to produce much more energy than solar panels.
With pollution at the very forefront of environmental concerns, the need for conventional fuel substitutes has never been greater. In fact, in 2019, the biodiesel market peaked at 2.8 billion gallons according to a report by EPA. With biofuel reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 57-86%, this industry is ripe for green entrepreneurs to venture into.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are another up and coming trend in energy entrepreneurship. While the phrase “cars of the future” may bring visuals of flying rocket-like sleek machines to mind, we’re not nearly there yet. Electric vehicles though; are our closest bet.
With no emissions and a smaller carbon footprint from manufacturing, they have increasingly become a popular choice for those making a sustainable switch. According to a 2020 report by Statista, the size of the global electric vehicle market is expected to increase almost five-fold to 567 billion U.S Dollars by 2026.
Although EVs seem like the car of choice for young climate crusaders, it’s interesting to note that the people buying them the most aren’t actually Millennials. Gen Xers are actually buying the most electric vehicles at 39.8%, with Millennials not too far behind at 34.9%. This just goes to show that the audience for electric vehicles is varied and growing and with the consumer demand rising, entrepreneurs can look for opportunities here in everything from manufacturing, servicing, franchising, charging stations, and sales.
While renewable sources of energy for the home, biofuel and electric vehicles are larger trends in the clean energy movement, consumers are also making smaller sustainable switches in their lifestyle. As people become more eco-conscious and take baby steps towards complete sustainability, entrepreneurs looking to make an entry into sustainability can capitalize on the demand for alternative lifestyle products. If you’re wondering what some of these are, here are a few popular sustainable lifestyle choices people are making:
- All-natural cosmetics: From shampoos to lipsticks, all-natural, ethical skincare and cosmetics are transitioning from a fad to a permanent lifestyle choice.
- No-plastic accessories: From copper cups to steel straws, consumers are ditching plastic for longer-lasting eco-friendly alternatives.
- Reusable everything: Think grocery bags, silicone menstrual cups, beeswax food wraps and more, consumers are no longer after single-use products.
As you venture out as a green entrepreneur, one of the challenges you will face is convincing customers to invest a little more money into sustainable products than they would with their conventional counterparts. If you find yourself asking how to tackle this issue, this article by Fiscal Tiger suggests ways to go green that also save money. Creating a business in any of these areas — from recycled products to services that offer efficient waste management or help consumers save on water or electricity — is an opportunity waiting to succeed.
You may be out to help save the world, but no one said it was easy. Green entrepreneurship takes determination, persistence, and vision. In a quickly growing market, it will only be met with challenges and competition. However, if you start early and on the right foot, your idea could change the way people live forever.
Guest post courtesy of Noah Rue