by Staff Writers
Denver CO (SPX) Mar 18, 2013
Sun Number, LLC is making it easier, faster and less expensive for solar companies to analyze the solar potential of properties and to close sales with customers using a new tool developed with support from the Department of Energy's SunShot program. Utilizing high-resolution aerial data, advanced GIS technology and proprietary algorithms, Sun Number produces instant analyses of the solar potential of residential and commercial building rooftops.
With only a street address and a single click of a mouse, solar companies can immediately obtain information about a property's solar suitability that was previously only available if they sent an employee on-site for a lengthy, costly inspection. "The trend in solar installations is that soft costs are increasing as a percentage of overall costs, in part due to the labor-intensive analysis necessary to evaluate the solar potential of a rooftop. Not only is it costly, but it slows the sales process to a crawl as both the provider and the customer are forced to wait for their schedules to align and the weather to cooperate. Our goal was to develop a tool that eliminates those high costs and allows providers to get that information instantly," said David Herrmann, co-founder of Sun Number.
"With a potential client's address, solar providers can now have an accurate analysis that would have previously required an on-site visit and a technical assessment that would tie up a team member for a half-day or more. That makes this a must-have tool for the solar industry." "Sun Number makes it easy and fast to determine the solar potential of a building without the time and expense of a property visit or a custom assessment. We can get the information we need by entering the address into the Sun Number website in real time. This allows us to greatly accelerate our sales and preliminary design process and improve the accuracy of our remote designs.
"Thanks to the high level of resolution and accuracy of the Sun Number data, there is little actual deviation in the final design after site audit versus the remote design using the Sun Number service. Sun Number removes the uncertainty of the remote shade analysis process. By using Sun Number, we can confirm the specific solar production capacity of a site remotely without the cost of sending out a site-audit team. That moves the sales process forward quickly and allows us to reduce the cost of converting leads into sales," said Ivan La Frinere-Sandoval, speaking on behalf of Solar Union. Sun Number helps solar companies identify properties that have high solar suitability for proactive sales efforts. The online tool also shortens the sales cycle by providing suitability information for properties including specifics on rooftop morphology and the impact of shade. The determination of a property's solar suitability is based on highly sophisticated technology, but the outputs are simple enough for anyone to understand.
When a solar provider or consumer uses the Sun Number tool to evaluate a property, the tool produces a Sun Number Score. A Sun Number Score represents the solar suitability of a building's rooftop on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the ideal rooftop for solar. Sun Number determines the solar-suitable square footage of a building by taking into account factors of importance to solar installers, including:
+ The pitch of every roof section
+ The orientation of every roof plane
+ Shade created by surrounding buildings that might impact solar potential
+ Shade created by surrounding vegetation that might impact solar potential Additionally, Sun Number Scores will take into account regional factors such as:
+ Average sunshine for the market
+ Atmospheric conditions that may impact solar potential
+ Availability of local solar incentives
+ Regional cost of electricity for calculation of solar savings
+ And other factors of importance to solar installations Sun Number Scores are currently available in the following metro markets: the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson, Las Vegas and Honolulu. Sun Number will soon support a long list of additional markets in other regions of the United States. Sun Number also benefits solar providers by raising awareness of the benefits of solar energy among consumers, who can use the tool to analyze their own home or property. Once they see exactly how much they can benefit from solar panels, Sun Number can connect them with a provider who can help them take the next step.
Herrmann commented: "An important requirement of the SunShot grant is providing a solution that educates the public about solar energy, and our company is doing that by providing the service free to consumers and promoting it energetically in each market we cover. These efforts will make it simple for consumers to understand how they can benefit from solar, and it will no doubt increase the funnel of prospective customers for solar providers," added Herrmann.
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