Solar software helps solar installers accelerate and streamline their sales and design processes. In fact, with modern solar software, an installer can easily pre-design projects and develop a sales proposal before they even meet a homeowner. They can know ahead of time where the modules will go on a roof and how much money a customer can expect to save, said Samuel Adeyemo, COO of Aurora Solar. Software can also help the homeowner visualize what their house will look like with modules on it, even before an installation crew arrives.
Paul Grana, founder of Folsom Labs, said usability is one of the most important aspects of a software program. Most software programs are not difficult to use and allow installers to quickly and accurately design installations. Ease of use can ultimately increase productivity and customer satisfaction.
The majority of today’s solar software offer several common capabilities, Adeyemo explained. The first is performance simulation, which calculates how much energy a solar installation will produce over a year. Financial analysis capabilities calculate a homeowner’s financial return from their installation. System design resources help installers choose the most efficient combination of modules and inverters for a particular roof. Proposal generation tools consolidate the performance simulation, financial analysis and system design into one place, so a solar sales person can easily present the opportunity to a homeowner.
Along with these common capabilities, some software offer premium features as well, Adeyemo added. Automatic system design accounts for shading conditions of a particular roof and automatically selects the optimal combination and placement of modules and inverters to generate the highest return for a homeowner. Shading analysis generates reports that can give installers accurate irradiance and shading values even if they are not on-site. 3D system design creates 3D images of the installation that not only look better, but generate more accurate results.
Pricing for solar software varies between companies. One program, for example, costs $159 per user for a basic version and $259 per user for a premium version. Another costs $95 per month or $950 per year with team discounts starting at 10% for three or more users.