Aurora Solar adds financial tool to its solar design, sales platform

Aurora Solar Inc. has added financial analysis to its commercial suite, making it the solar industry’s only all-in-one solar design and sales platform for residential and commercial PV systems.

aurora solar sales financing software

“The real challenge for us was making such complex analysis accessible and easy-to-use for customers,” said Al-Karim Lalani, Lead Engineer of Commercial Financial Analysis, Aurora Solar. “We worked with sophisticated solar financiers to validate our analysis and then collaborated with our customers to make sure that our interface was intuitive and it suited their daily workflows.”

“We often have our clients ask us questions like ‘which of these two PV designs is better?’ Without having a detailed financial analysis platform, we couldn’t answer these questions in a scalable manner,” said Samuel Adeyemo, COO, Aurora Solar. “That is why we are truly excited about this enhancement; by being able to analyze and present the financial implications of their design choices, we anticipate this feature will lead to higher closing rates for our customers.”

Special Report: How to Make Money in the Midwest

System Highlights

• Aurora’s commercial financial analysis allows installers to compare the returns of any cash, lease, loan, or PPA financing option.
• It takes into account demand charges when using Green Button data, allowing companies to get a granular understanding of their electricity bill post-solar.
• The analysis allows solar designers to explore the financial return of design tradeoffs, such as calculating the LCOE of single vs dual tilt racking systems or the net present value of different modules.
• The algorithms calculate bonus depreciation and depreciation tax shields at federal and state levels.
• It incorporates fixed and variable operations & maintenance costs for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis.
• Commercial installers can optimize their designs across both engineering and financial variables.
• The analysis can be automatically imported into a sales proposal, allowing installers to go from initial commercial site assessment to completed sales proposal in a fraction of the time.

— Solar Builder magazine

BayWa, PVComplete launch new ‘Click to Quote’ function inside PVSketch

BayWa re

BayWa r.e. Solar Systems and PVComplete announce the launch of a new “Click to Quote” feature on PVComplete’s online design tool, PVSketch. This feature enables users to seamlessly initiate a request for quote when designing a solar project, without leaving the PVSketch platform.

“Solar contractors are hard-pressed to improve operational efficiencies, and the quoting and proposal process is especially important to streamline,” said Daniel Marino, CCO of BayWa r.e. Solar Systems LLC. “Click to Quote allows solar businesses to move more quickly and integrate previously-segregated project tasks. This results in more capacity for designs and proposals, and lower acquisition costs.”

This innovative new feature and partnership with BayWa r.e. is about shortening the timeline from sale to construction, helping each business grow. With a simple “Click to Quote” button on PVSketch, solar contractors can get a quote, without the tedious data entry or export of project information. ”

Details on new CAD software design tool from PVComplete

— Solar Builder magazine

WATCH: AlsoEnergy debuts new PowerTrack Web platform to save solar installers time

AlsoEnergy is releasing a new platform for its solar customers, PowerTrack Web, that will provide web browser access for all users, get daily work completed faster, and save money. PowerTrack Web is a new version of AlsoEnergy’s flagship software platform built using the universal HTML5 programming language. This enables web access for users with Chrome and Firefox web browsers. Here’s a tutorial:

PowerTrack Web has the same basic interface design as the original PowerTrack platform, but the navigation makes it easy to move quickly through common daily tasks. “PowerTrack Web improves on speed and response time, and is already helping our team work more efficiently” says Paul Happy, Vice President of Operations at SoCore Energy. “Many members of our team have already made the shift to standardize on PowerTrack Web for daily monitoring work.”

Designed for universal compatibility and fast performance, PowerTrack Web is a streamlined version of the original PowerTrack application. It supports the most critical and frequently used functionality of the original PowerTrack platform, including real-time data at portfolio, site, and device level; aggregated and itemized portfolio overviews; analytics and full charting functionality; and alerts status and acknowledgement.

PowerTrack Web joins the existing products in the PowerTrack application family, including PowerTrack IE (for use with Explorer browser); PowerTrack Desktop (available for Windows or Mac); and PowerTrack Mobile. Many users will employ PowerTrack Web in conjunction with other PowerTrack platforms. Since all PowerTrack programs are built for interaction with the same back-end server system, actions executed in one platform are immediately visible and actionable on the other platforms. Users may move back and forth between versions with no fear of losing work.

— Solar Builder magazine

How Momentum Solar used aerial imaging software to grow its install business

Savvy solar installation companies are using technology to their advantage to nimbly grow their business. An example just sent our way: Momentum Solar, a solar installation company headquartered in Metuchen, N.J., has been able to expand its services nationwide due in part to its adoption of Nearmap’s software, which provides high-resolution aerial imagery to accelerate site assessments.

nearmap

Nearmap high-resolution PhotoMaps showing Momentum Solar installation in Kearny, NJ – Oct. 2016.

By using Nearmap’s aerial imagery combined with PV design tools, Momentum has seen dramatic decreases in its proposal lead time—from hours to minutes—and has nearly doubled the number of homes it can qualify each week—from 2,000 to between 3,000 and 5,000.

“With Nearmap, all the necessary information is in one easy-to-use program,” said James Kennedy, Momentum’s program manager for sales proposal development. “We can decide if the property is suitable for solar within two to three minutes. The high-resolution imagery displays roof space, shading and any obstructions so we can make accurate, timely assessments. Because we can accurately assess properties pre-sale, we go into the proposal with definite solutions and more confidence. Clients enjoy seeing what the end product will look like through panels virtually placed on Nearmap’s aerial captures. This gives us an edge in our business progression.”

RELATED: Four steps for converting more solar sales 

Nearmap benefits for Momentum Solar

• The accuracy and timeliness of images allow Momentum to have faster and more accurate assessments, allowing time for more successful appointments each day.
• Nearmap’s high-resolution images make solar panel planning easier. Higher resolution images lead to better measurements, allowing Momentum to better plan and visualize where solar panels can be placed on a roof.
• Momentum can create a panel placement proposal in 5-7 minutes, a task that previously took two to three times that long.
• Nearmap’s efficient design makes it easy for Momentum to show its customers exactly what the final results will look like, and quickly make any necessary adjustments.

Nearmap also gives Momentum an advantage in the ability to see images of a property in the past. These images taken at different times of the year allow Momentum to see a property in all seasons. Bare trees pose no problem to solar panels in the winter, but when the trees are in full bloom during spring and summer, they can create enough shade to disqualify a home or severely inhibit a system’s production. Switching between past and present images gives a more complete understanding of a property and allows for proper qualification of a home.

— Solar Builder magazine

Insight into new solar monitoring software used by Swinerton Renewable Energy

SOLV, a solar O&M service provider in America and a division of EPC contractor Swinerton Renewable Energy, has begun deployment of QOS Energy’s Qantum software to monitor and support the operations and maintenance of more than 1 GW of solar PV plants in the United States.

Comanche PV plant - Community Energy Solar - SOLV

What is Qantum?

Qantum is a cloud-based analytics platform that allows SOLV to harness the power of the data generated by the multiple PV installations they manage on behalf of leading renewable energy project owners. It does this by being a hardware-agnostic energy management SaaS platform that seamlessly gathers data from any wind or solar plant monitoring system, such as databases, SCADA or data acquisition systems, including data from trackers, hybrid plants or storage facilities. Qantum collects and transforms the data into comprehensive, next-stage analytics, enabling SOLV to identify performance issues quickly and accurately.

“Our solution helps clients deliver best-in-class O&M services for solar PV plants of any size, from small rooftop installations to massive utility-scale projects, such as the 155 MWp Comanche Project which generates an average of 5,000 data points, including the Qantum-based calculation of 1,800 formula-based KPIs. … SOLV can visualize, understand, streamline and maximize global operational performance using a simple web browser,” explained Franck Le Breton, CEO at QOS Energy.

RELATED: How to optimize performance and profit through O&M monitoring 

The cloud-based suite features a complete set of customizable charts, operating dashboards KPIs and alerts helping to gain a deeper understanding of the asset’s performance at a glance and to identify root causes of underperformance. Additional KPIs and technical indicators have also been created specifically for the trackers installed onsite. The platform offers a fully integrated maintenance management system to help reduce downtime by streamlining maintenance workflows for large and complex renewable energy portfolios. In addition, SOLV benefits from a reporting feature included in the SaaS solution to customize and automate its reporting processes.

“The solution provided by QOS Energy can integrate any type of data, which is a powerful and truly unique capability in the market. We can now track asset performance with greater efficiency, and, in turn provide optimum value to our clients. The implementation phase has been very smooth and we were impressed with the level of service provided by QOS Energy,” concluded Adam Snyder Product Manager from SOLV.

— Solar Builder magazine