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Gwen Brown
Author

Gwen Brown

Gwen Brown is Content Marketer at Aurora Solar. Previously, she was a Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Law Institute. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Gettysburg College.

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5 Ways to Make Solar Software Your Secret Weapon for Solar Sales

Gwen BrownGwen Brown

Using cutting-edge solar software like Aurora gives you an advantage when it comes to the quality of your solar designs for your customer. But for prospective solar customers who may be unfamiliar with the solar design and installation process, it’s not always easy to understand how your solar design software sets you apart from competitors.

It doesn’t have to be that way, however. When you can clearly communicate the benefits of your advanced design tools, you can help the customer see the value your company brings to the table–and ultimately close more sales. These five strategies make it easy for prospective solar customers to understand how Aurora sets your company apart.

1. Educate the Client with Stunning 3D Visuals

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s certainly true when it comes to solar sales. One of the easiest and most powerful ways to help the customer understand the quality of your design process with Aurora is to show them.

Aurora generates beautiful and accurate 3D representations of the project site and your solar design, letting the customer see exactly what their home or business will look like with your installation. These visuals can help them feel confident that they’ll be happy with the aesthetics of the PV system–a crucial consideration for an investment that will likely be with their property for the next 25 years.

A solar design in Aurora solar software (right), compared to aerial imagery (left).A solar design in Aurora (right) with an irradiance map showing solar access, compared to aerial imagery (left). Accurate visuals give customers a realistic sense of how their solar installation will look. 

Aurora visuals can also be helpful in educating the client about different solar design considerations. For instance, the sun path simulator, which shows the sun’s movement during every daylight hour of the year, can help illustrate how shade moves across the property at different times.

Similarly, Aurora’s irradiance engine calculates the available solar energy at every point on the roof surface and generates beautiful irradiance maps that show differences in solar access. These are great ways to help the customer understand why particular array locations are better than others.

 

Aurora solar software simulates the sun’s movement, and resulting shadows, during every hour of the year. The sun path animation illustrates this. Aurora simulates the sun’s movement, and resulting shadows, during every hour of the year. The sun path animation provides a handy visual representation of this. 

You can also use these tools to demonstrate options the customer might want to be know about. For instance, if trees cause a lot of shading, you could provide irradiance maps and production data for different scenarios, such if trees were pruned or removed.

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2. Demonstrate Accurate Solar Sizing and Production Estimates with Industry-Leading Algorithms

Of course, even more than stunning visuals, the customer wants to know they can trust your expertise–particularly when it comes to the amount of energy that their system will produce and how much of their energy usage it will offset. Aurora has developed proprietary algorithms that allow you to estimate the customer’s energy usage and forecast solar production with confidence.

 Aurora gives you a variety of ways to estimate how much energy the customer uses at different times, such as inputting their electric bills or uploading data from their utility. This provides a strong starting point for determining how much solar energy the customer's needs.

 From there, Aurora makes it easy to precisely calculate how much energy the system will produce. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has validated the accuracy of Aurora’s shading engine, finding its estimates of available solar energy to be statistically equivalent to manual, onsite measurements. 

Aurora solar software helps solar contractors accurately determine the customer’s energy consumption and solar savings. Aurora helps solar contractors accurately determine the customer’s energy consumption and future solar energy production throughout the year.

Additionally, our algorithms for calculating solar energy production take into account a number of considerations other solar software programs don’t. For example, Aurora is the first solar software that can model electrical behavior within each module, accounting for the locations of bypass diodes. This also us one of the only softwares that can model panels with integrated cell-string optimizers like Maxim’s.

Likewise, many solar software programs do not model how different stringing configurations change energy production, such as if shaded modules are grouped together in a separate string. We also model whether the selected inverter performs local or global maximum powerpoint tracking.

While customers may not understand all of the technical details that impact how much energy their solar installation will produce, highlighting that you’re using one of the industry’s most advanced software programs tools for system sizing and energy production modeling can help close more solar sales.

3. Showcase Tools for Accurate Post-Solar Rates and Financial Returns

Most likely, one of the main reasons your prospective customer is interested in solar is to save money on their utility bills. That means the accuracy of the bill savings you present to them is of the utmost importance. Explaining how Aurora produces accurate estimates of their solar savings can help the customer be confident your design will deliver the savings they seek.

Aurora has an extensive database of utility rates–covering over 3,000 utilities and over 17,000 utility rates around the world–so you can accurately model your customer’s electricity bill and how it will change with solar. Aurora even models bill savings under time of use rates, in which the value of electricity varies depending on time of day. Utilizing accurate pre- and post-solar utility rates provides the client with a predictable future monthly bill and overall lifetime savings.

Aurora also offers financial modeling tools that allow you to show the customer key metrics like the Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), and Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE). Plus, Aurora has an extensive database of financial incentives, so you can take into account any applicable grants, tax rebates, or production based incentives (PBIs) like SRECs when presenting financial metrics to the customer.

4. Explain How Aurora Reduces Change Orders by Up to 100%

Your prospective customer probably also wants to know that the installation process will go smoothly–without unexpected errors, changes, or delays. You can highlight the wide variety of tools Aurora gives you to ensure design accuracy and avoid time-consuming change orders (revisions to the design) at a later date.

Aurora makes it easy to accurately model the project site–from the height and pitch of the roof to the presence of obstructions like skylights and vents. Aurora’s ruler tool makes it easy to confirm site dimensions. The ruler snaps to objects like building edges, obstructions, solar panels, carports and groundmounts and indicates their length. Additionally, Aurora allows you to specify required setbacks so that your panel placement doesn’t violate fire codes or jurisdiction requirements. Aurora will alert you of any violations.

Aurora Solar's ruler tool snaps to objects like roofs or solar panels making it easy to ensure the accuracy of your site model.
Aurora's ruler tool snaps to objects like roofs or solar panels making it easy to ensure the accuracy of your site model. 

If you have a premium account, you have even more cutting-edge tools to ensure accuracy, such as LIDAR, computer vision measurements, and even National Electrical Code (NEC) validation to ensure that your design doesn’t violate any electrical or mechanical constraints or industry best practices.

For the customer, all of this means that you are less likely to have to make design changes (change orders) later that add time and cost to the project. In fact, California contractor Solarponics reports that they have completely eliminated change orders since switching to Aurora!

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5. Highlight How Aurora Makes It Easy to Find the Best Design

Ultimately, your customer wants to know they’re getting the best solar design. Aurora’s solar software helps set your company apart by giving you an efficient design workflow that allows you to quickly and cost-effectively explore a variety of design options to find the best one.

For example, in Aurora, you can copy existing designs you’ve created and then make adjustments, letting you quickly iterate through different options, like incorporating microinverters or DC optimizers or using different panels. From there, you can quickly assess the energy production and financial returns of each design to find the best choice.

Companies with less efficient design processes may not have the time to explore multiple design options and find a custom solution. Highlighting this difference can give you a solar sales advantage.

You’ve made an investment in top-notch solar design tools that help you deliver high-quality solar installations to your customers, so why keep those tools under wraps? Discussing your design process can help the customer see what sets you apart from the competition.


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Do you have other strategies for highlighting the advantages of your solar design software in solar sales conversations? Let us know in the comments below!

Gwen Brown
Author

Gwen Brown

Gwen Brown is Content Marketer at Aurora Solar. Previously, she was a Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Law Institute. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Gettysburg College.

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