What are some business tools solar contractors should be using to increase solar energy sales and why?
With residential and commercial solar owners facing a declining federal solar tax credit over the next few years, contractors need to use the best tools available both to generate solar energy sales today and to ensure continuing sales even as federal tax incentives decline.
Solar Energy Sales Software
There is a wealth of solar energy sales and other solar-related software tools out there. But where should you start? You could browse a reputable site like Solar Power World’s articles on software, or search for terms like “CRM” or “sales” there. Solar Power World wrote back in 2016 about how mobile apps could change solar sales. Some recent (2019) Solar Power World articles include:
- 2019 Top Solar Software and Monitoring Products, especially the top-rated sales software packages:
- Aurora Solar 3D Modeling Service
- OpenSolar OpenSolar (“OpenSolar is the first free sales proposal and enterprise tool. It includes a full solar CRM, sophisticated 3D and mobile design tools, video product content within an interactive customer proposal that lets you take the customer all the way to online payment, all in a free app for installers.” More on this below…)
- PVComplete by PVSketch
- SolarNexus by SolarNexus
- Thriving in a changing solar market with software (Presentations from the 2018 Solar Software Summit, including a deep look into how the industry has been affected by market changes, and how businesses can continue to thrive by using solar software.”)
- Customer management software can ease the workload of community solar developers (“The community solar market is set to take off…. Developers who don’t want to perform the new administrative tasks that come with community solar can turn to customer management software solutions instead.”)
SolarApp for Rooftop Solar and Solar+Storage Installations
One of the most exciting developments on the horizon is SolarAPP, the Solar Automated Permit Processing software platform being developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. SolarAPP has the goal of dramatically reducing the time and cost of the permitting application review and approval process.
The Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) Campaign will create a low-cost, seamless process for rooftop solar and solar+storage installations, while enhancing safety and reliability. This will make solar energy more affordable and accessible for homeowners and businesses. ~The Solar Foundation
Solar Builder wrote about SolarAPP in their July, 2019 article.
According to The Solar Foundation, the SolarAPP campaign seeks to:
- Develop and provide free and simple online permitting tools for local governments.
- Help local governments provide instantaneous permitting and innovative inspections for qualifying solar projects.
Results the SolarAPP campaign expects to achieve by 2025 include:
- Making solar energy more affordable and accessible for homeowners and businesses at a wide range of income levels.
- Saving a typical solar consumer more than $7,000 in red tape tied to installation costs.
- Opening new market opportunities for solar installers, manufacturers, developers, owners, and operators, resulting in more American jobs.
You can download fact sheets for SolarAPP, local governments, and the online permitting portal.
OpenSolar: The First Free Sales Proposal and Enterprise Tool
OpenSolar claims they’ve launched “the most simple, fast and powerful tool for solar professionals ever” and they’re making it available as a cloud-based app, totally free.
OpenSolar features include:
- Fast and accurate SolarTouch design technology (create beautiful proposals in seconds)
- Deep 3D modelling tools
- A modern, digital experience for your customers (multiple system and finance options, online sales tools and digital product content, configurable PDF proposals)
- “A full end-to-end business management toolkit, with CRM to drive business efficiencies, scale and profitability”
- Residential & commercial solar and battery capability for “just about all” countries and currencies
- All presented with your branding, i.e., your personalized digital toolkit
Does the hype hold up? Ultimately you must be the judge, but OpenSolar made Solar Power World’s list of 2019 Top Solar Software and Monitoring Products. Try it!
In addition to the web version, you can install the free OpenSolar app from Google Play or Apple App Store. Solar Builder reports that there is also a paid annual subscription option that combines Nearmap’s “high resolution vertical and oblique aerial imagery” with OpenSolar’s remote solar design software “in a game-changing way that helps installers win more customers.”
Solerus Can Help!
Marketing and customer service are hard. No one person can do it all. Let us help. Solerus Energy believes that solar contractors have it hard enough with their profits being eaten away at by the soft costs of solar. Solerus Energy is here to help you maximize your highest-value lead provider—your customers—with affordable equipment and an array of helpful services for solar contractors.
Solerus Energy offers two solar permit services, full solar design and permit package and solar single line diagram (free of cost with any residential system order up to 25kW or $50 with on order) for ANY residential and commercial solar installation in the USA. That includes battery back-up and off-grid solar installations, small and large commercial installations!
Our equipment is top of the line by well verified and established and industry leading manufacturer, made according and per all required certification.
We can provide technical support not only in regard to designing the system and but also during installation and assist in complete Bill of Material down nuts and bolts.
Stellar customer service before and after installation.
Solerus Energy can help you focus on growing your customer base, whether you are a residential or commercial contractor, at discount prices. And your customer base is your greatest source of new customers.
Solerus is a trusted solar energy equipment supplier, empowering contractors to develop agile solutions for commercial and residential clients. We provide a range of best-in-class solar products that are backed by an industry-leading 25-year warranty, designed to provide you with unparalleled peace of mind.
To learn more about government solar incentives and the equipment you’ll need to have happy customers at a price that you’ll love, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable specialists today!