APPS & WORKFLOW
The Most Dynamic Apps for the Solar Industry
Ryan Harmon, CompanyCam
19 August 2017
CompanyCam is committed to making your work less difficult through any means possible. For your convenience, we have dug deep and narrowed in on the 10 best apps to accelerate your Solar Business’ workflow.
Solar Power Evaluator
So, you want to install your own solar power panels? Maybe you’re wanting to go off the grid, out from under the thumb of THE MAN. Or maybe your intent in reading this isn’t so sinister, you are just looking on how to get into the world of solar power because it will help you or your clients save some cash. Whatever your reasons, the Solar Power Evaluator app is a good place to start.
Solar Power Evaluator helps you project whether this whole idea is a good one or one that you need to throw out the window. The app helps you generate a complete solar power proposal with the input of three factors: location, utility usage and price, and pv (photovoltaic) system size. With these variables, Solar Power Evaluator will spit out a proposal that will help you move forward.
The proposal will help you evaluate the entire plan and system – giving you an analysis of system cost, a grid vs. solar comparison, utility rate increases, the quantity of solar power that will be produced annually, and, among a load of other things, the rate of return you can expect if you move forward with the switch.
All in all, Solar Power Evaluator does a lot of great work for you on the front end, making it well worth a quick download.
Solar Power Evaluator is in the Apple Store and it’s free.
The solar energy revolution is here and it is not going away anytime soon. If you’re reading this blog, you know that already and you are one of those contractors that has decided that getting in the solar game is worth your time and investment. Kudos. As you go about your business, the Clear Energy Council (Australia-based) has made the technical work you or your team are engaged in a bit more simple with the Solar Checklist app.
Solar Checklist makes your life easier by ensuring that you and your team meet all the technical requirements during the install of grid connected solar PV systems. The app is easy to use and also includes up-to-date technical safety requirements.
On the job, your team can upload photos to the app and create PDF reports of the install for your documentation and to keep your customers in the know.
Of course, if you are Australia-based, this app will provide even greater functionality as it links seamlessly with the Clear Energy Council’s website. If you are not Australia-based, no worries, the information is obviously useful and presented on a platform that will be easy to use.
Solar Checklist is free in both the Apple and Android Store.
Whether you are a homeowner that’s jumped into the solar game or a solar power installer, Solar Tracker is an app you’ll love. We’ve all seen the innumerable apps that transform your phone into a level to use on a job site but how many apps are there out there that transform your phone into a freaking solar panel calibrator? Answer: not too many.
Here’s the magic: you open the app and place your phone on top of the solar panel and the app will help you find the perfect directional orientation as well as proper tilt the panel should maintain in order to fully harness all of the sun’s powers. Of course, as you’d expect, Solar Tracker also accesses your location relative to the sun’s position, sunrise and sunset times, as well as the time remaining until the sunset or next sunrise – everything you’d need for optimal solar energy efficiency.
The application of this app isn’t just for stationary solar panels, the Solar Tracker app is quick to highlight whether you’re a camper that need to harness solar power or an on-the-go business person that recharges your devices with solar chargers, Solar Tracker could make your life a lot easier, starting now.
Solar Tracker is $1.99 in the Apple Store
Regardless of industry, CompanyCam is the ultimate photo tool for contractors. Utilizing GPS, the app automatically organizes every photo taken. You and your team can take unlimited photos—all of which are location and time-stamped, sent to the cloud, and stored securely—meaning you can access any project, anytime, anywhere. As a solar technician, you can track your team’s progress any time of day.
But the real power of the app is displayed when you bring on other technicians. Because the app does the organizing automatically, every technician saves time. There is no question as to where to store something and managers have instant vision into every job site.
CompanyCam has a straightforward pricing structure. For every user that needs to take photos, it is $12/month.
Lumos: Sun and Moon Tracker
The next in line in our look at apps that will help you step up your solar game is Lumos. Lumos excels in some areas of functionality that we touched on with Solar Tracker: tracking sun positions given different variables. With Solar Tracker this was a nice add-on, with Lumos it is the main dish.
Lumos boasts three great features: First, it uses augmented/virtual reality to give you a visual predictor of the sun’s movement – it let’s you see it. You can access past, present, and future sun positions from varied locations so that as you plan solar installs you’ll have all the information you need to deliver for your clients.
Second, the same benefits that can be accessed while on site via augmented reality can also be accessed during your off-site prep. Lumos’ mapping feature allows you to see exact and optimal install locations.
Finally, Lumos has a nifty little shadow length calculator that will predict the length of shadow created by any object during different times of the day, different seasons, etc. Nothing would be more tragic than miscalculating the shadow cast by an oak tree in January – Lumos will help you avoid that fumble.
All in all, Lumos’ functionality helps you fine-tune the install process. Added points go to Lumos to help you plan that family photo-shoot you’ve been putting off for years.
Lumos is available in the Apple app store and it’s free, you can upgrade to the Pro version for $2.99.
We have covered a lot of ground in terms of analysis and planning – particularly planning for panel placement and cost estimates. EasySolar’s software might be something you are already familiar with, especially if you’re a solar power contractor. The EasySolar app is an extension of the software platform that many contractors have come to love. So – what does the app do?
The EasySolar app will help you from pre-sale to post-job follow through, all via an easy to use and slick mobile platform that will turn your phone or tablet into your best friend. EasySolar allows for quick design of solar systems and creates visuals via satellite imagery or by accessing photos on your device. Design can then be customized so that your clients can see exactly what the installed system will look like when completed. The app will also help with the proposal process by generating customized quotes and a financial analysis, highlighting the cost-saving benefits of solar power.
In terms of running your solar business, the EasySolar app allows you to quickly input new bids and customers on the fly, helping your team work more effectively and efficiently. Boasting over 9,000 separate solar business customers, EasySolar is a good all-around tool for the solar power contractor looking to maximize their time.
The EasySolar app is free in both the Apple and Android store. To take full advantage of all it offers, you’ll want to consider looking at some of EasySolar’s software.
The renewable energy revolution is here to stay and your customers are, without a doubt, thinking about incorporating renewable technologies into their home. Solar panels usually serve as the entry into the renewable world, but why stop there? The newest kid on the block when it comes to solar energy is integrated photovoltaic glass – that’s a mouthful but we are basically talking about glass that has solar harnessing capability. Gone are the large solar panels on the roof, the energy production is seamlessly built into the design of the home.
The app market isn’t huge for solar glass, but Onyx Solar is there on the cutting edge. Their app, simple in design, will help you determine the cost savings that a solar glass install would bring to your clients. Simple inputs of location, installation type, and technology used will provide you with an estimate of average energy savings and the return on investment that your client can anticipate. Beyond this, Onyx Solar also has the capability to determine the practical benefits of the solar production – i.e. hours of lighting, miles they could drive in their electric car…stuff like that.
Overall, this is a pretty slick app that will help with some pretty advanced technology.
The Onyx Solar app is available in the Apple and Android stores and it is free.