concept3D, a software studio and media services company, has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to develop simuwatt Solar to streamline commercial solar sales, design and permitting. simuwatt Solar is a mobile and cloud-based application that incorporates 3D technology for preliminary site design and estimating, shading analysis permitting documentation and bid preparation, all in one application.
While hardware costs of solar are decreasing, soft costs—specifically, the balance of system costs—remain high. Solar soft costs, including site analysis, engineering, permitting, and sales and acquisitions, account for an average of between 52% and 57% of total spending on large and small commercial systems respectively.
With over $1 million in joint funding from the DOE SunShot Initiative, simuwatt Solar removes barriers to commercial rooftop quoting, design and permitting. It is the first product to streamline the entire process, with an in-app 3D engine, in a single application.
The incorporated 3D design gives installers the power to create a more timely and accurate quote and dynamic visualization. For engineers, the application offers a more precise array assessment, output of one and three-line diagrams, plus automatic creation of AutoCAD and SketchUp files.
Permitting alone can add thousands to the bottom line of each solar installation. simuwatt Solar can decrease permit package preparation time on the municipal level. The application also utilizes the simuwatt Library, an online repository of solar panels, inverters, racks and combiner boxes with product spec sheets and attributes. simuwatt Solar tracks and provides some key documents necessary for installers, engineers, financers and permit officers.
“We all know balance of systems costs are the final frontier in solar savings, simuwatt Solar saves money through every step of the acquisition process—from sales to engineering to permitting—all in one app,” said Oliver Davis, CEO of concept3D. “After thousands of hours of development, market research and client feedback, we are excited to offer this very rich product for commercial beta.”