09/07/2010 05:10 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Building a Sustainable Model for Solar Small Business

Whether the industry is called clean tech, green-collar or eco-chic, the job creation potential of new renewable technologies has some pioneering companies singing "Here Comes the Sun."

As increasing numbers of Americans express interest in transitioning from fossil fuels, government agencies, entrepreneurs, academics and engineers are collaborating to harness the potentially revitalizing power of solar and alternative energies.

This month Planet Forward examines how the skies are far from clear for small alternative energy businesses, and how small alternative energy businesses can craft sustainable business plans amidst government regulation and high installation costs. But solar entrepreneurs aren't left in the shade - the federal government offers generous tax credits, including one that covers 30% of a solar array's cost. Coupled with new innovations in mass production and solar-friendly local governments relaxing restrictions, alternative energy is more viable than ever.

Building an alternative energy source from research lab to successful business requires new ways of thinking, modeling and marketing. It requires investigating how government regulates solar companies, refining production chains and constantly innovating. Planet Forward recently highlighted some emerging solar innovators. Join the discussion on crafting sustainable business plans for alternative energy companies by providing your thoughts, comments and experiences at Planet Forward.