Your friendly local solar contractor has to contend with two basic types of costs: hardware costs (solar panels, inverters, racking, batteries, etc.) and non-hardware costs, referred to as “soft” costs (just about everything else, including sales, advertising, salaries, rent, insurance, vehicles, inspections and interconnection paperwork).
Solar contractors do not have much control over equipment costs, other than diligent equipment selection and shopping. However, contractors have control over soft costs by carefully managing their sales, installation and back office activities. Not surprisingly, these soft costs are over half the costs of a typical solar or battery installation!
To keep these soft costs down, solar companies are always seeking ways to improve their efficiency. Automating these soft cost activities — marketing, rooftop design, sales proposal, engineering, permitting, inspection, interconnection, incentive, etc. — can reduce these costs by 20% or more. Moreover, projects can get installed faster and with more accuracy.
When I started doing rooftop solar installations over 20 years ago, we developed software to streamline some of these processes. This old software was clunky — using Excel and Word and Adobe — but did indeed reduce costs and improve our sales effectiveness. Now, 20 years later, Aurora Solar has a complete platform to automate these sales, design and installation processes for solar and battery contractors. It’s an incredible product.
Aurora Solar was founded in 2012 by Sam Adeymo and Chris Hopper, both Stanford Business School grads. Sam and Chris embarked on a solar installation project in Africa — and while working on that project half way around the world they realized the scale of the opportunity to reduce solar design costs. They started off with software that would quickly and accurately design panels on a rooftop via aerial photos — completely eliminating the need for the installer to climb on the roof and measure distances with a tape measure. We can all be thankful that they didn’t start on a residential solar project in Palo Alto…otherwise they would probably still be trying to get their building permit finalized.
To learn how Aurora Solar has become the industry’s leader in automating the solar design process used to design over 5 million solar installations, please listen to this week’s Energy Show.