A new mobile app designed to guide solar installers through the sales process aims to help curb soft costs.
States and cities all over the country have been tackling issues with complicated and cumbersome permitting processes for rooftop solar projects the last two years.
“I believe that’s the next step,” said Jason Loyet, Managing Director for Solar Site Design. “Take care of the soft costs.”
His company, based in Tennessee, has developed a mobile app that should streamline and expedite the permitting process, he said.
“We want to save solar installers time on the most expensive part of the process,” he said.
The way the startup will do it is creative. The company launched its Solar Site Design app on the Google Play store for Android smartphones earlier this month and expects its iPhone application to be available for download in mid April.
The app is a big tool for solar installers and contractors in all kinds of related fields like roofing and electric who are beginning to install solar.
The free smartphone application guides installers through a data collection process at their initial sales visit with a home or business owner. They get all the information needed for an initial site design and take detailed high-resolution videos of the subject property.
Once they sync the data to Solar Site Design’s interface, the company has a team of solar engineers who prepare a complimentary feasibility study for the contractor.
Loyet, who has worked in the solar industry for several years, said that feasibility study can take time. When he was installing, he would visit several properties a day, take measurements and information and then have to go back and write it all up and plan out how the project would work.
It was time-consuming, but essential.
“You’re not going to sell a solar project until you model what is the solar potential for the customer,” he said.
All of that is free. And it’s a lot. So, Loyet has had countless people ask him how Solar Site Design is going to make any money.
“The next step is where we make our money,” he said.
Armed with all the information the contractor gathered at the site, Loyet’s team of engineers can get all the necessary permits, saving the contractor time and money. That’s the service contractors will pay for, Loyet said.
Outsourcing that part of the process will streamline it and reduce soft costs in the long run, he said.