Solar Boot-Up

Experts from Folsom Labs, creators of HelioScope solar sales and design software, share the latest how-to and best practices for improving the solar installation business with solar software.

How software streamlines the solar customer experience

By: Paul Grana and Canute Haroldson  of Folsom Labs The solar industry is experiencing explosive growth, but this scaling has made sales and customer engagement a lynchpin of maintaining that growth. At the S3 Solar Software Summit 2016, Julia Pyper, senior editor at Greentech Media, sat down with Katie DeWitt of SolarCity, Eric Reinhardt of Sunrun and

Build versus buy? The solar executive take on software

By: Paul Grana and Canute Haroldson  of Folsom Labs Build, buy, or build-and-buy? That is the question for blue-chip solar companies. At the S3 Solar Software Summit 2016, MJ Shiao sat down with four C-level solar executives to hear their views on software: Steve Simmons of Direct Energy Solar, Dan Rapp of Vivint Solar, Jonathan Doochin of

An investor’s take on solar software: The S3 Solar Software Summit

By Folsom Labs The solar software sector is experiencing rapid (and capital-efficient) growth, but is that enough to attract investors? At the S3 Solar Software Summit 2016, Shayle Kann, senior vice president of research for Greentech Media, and Jake Saper, an investor at Emergence Capital, sat down to discuss an investor’s perspective on solar software. Emergence

What the solar industry can learn from the industrial revolution: the S3 Solar Software Summit

By Folsom Labs As solar developers gear up for 2017, software solutions for reducing soft costs is a major theme on managers’ minds. The S3 Solar Software Summit has emerged as the premier event where these leaders can meet to discuss how they are organizing their teams and the tools they use to drive down costs–while

What is the cost of messing up an east-west installation?

How an electrical mistake can cause 10% energy loss By Paul Grana, co-founder, Folsom Labs East-west arrays are becoming increasingly common for flat-roof applications. These systems offer greater packing density – fitting more modules into a space-constrained roof to maximize the total energy generated. However, this new design topology comes with one important additional requirement:

What happens when an east-west solar array isn’t perfectly east-west?

By Paul Grana, co-founder, Folsom Labs East-west arrays are an increasingly popular configuration in the commercial solar market. With low module prices, it makes sense to trade a slight decrease in module productivity for greater overall system power production. By placing modules back-to-back, designers can avoid clearances for module shading, and can fit many more

Shade and solar arrays: How 10% shade tolerance is re-shaping project design

By Paul Grana, co-founder, Folsom Labs Solar engineers and developers are always thinking about shading that could encumber their solar arrays. After all, when your goal is to turn sunlight into money, anything that reduces that sunlight is bad. “Avoid shade” is one of those rules that is easy to say but complicated to deliver.

Solar inverters and clipping: What DC/AC inverter load ratio is ideal?

By Paul Grana, co-founder, Folsom Labs Pop quiz: What happens if you pair 6 kW of modules with a 5-kW inverter? How much energy will be lost due to “clipping?” We all know that the module rated power can be larger than the inverter rated power (within reason—inverters do have a max input current). But

How much less efficient are north-facing solar modules?

By Paul Grana, co-founder, Folsom Labs It’s considered common knowledge that you want to point your solar modules south, toward the equator (assuming you are in the northern hemisphere). This maximizes the energy production over the course of the year, through both summer and winter. Sometimes, however, the homeowner will want to add modules on

Why the time is right for a solar software conference

In the last two years, we have seen an explosion of innovation in solar software tools. This includes the existing tools getting better, as well as new tools emerging that focus on a specific part of the solar workflow, including LiDAR data, drone imagery, custom weather data, and utility rate optimization. However, this creates a