The impetus to speed up the transition to clean energy has risen, as well as the critical significance of renewable energy has been once again emphasized by the global energy crisis. As such, the renewable energy market steadily grows, with fossil fuels, rising urbanization, and economic development among the major concerns triggering the dynamic transformation of the sector.
From small house installations to large-scale solar projects, we at Visartech firmly believe that solar design software products are beneficial across all levels. Most importantly, such a diligent approach to designing a PV system guarantees a smooth installation procedure. Isn’t it what a solar panel business strives for?
Renewable Energy Industry Outlook
In the pursuit of sustainable development and ecological business practices, renewable energy technologies are on the cusp of global environmental protection. There are a number of reasons for their growing use. Yet, the key reason is that the use of alternative energy has great potential to cut operational costs and high dependency on fossil fuels (think coal, oil, and natural gas).
Why should we care? Fossil fuels have a wide range of uses, from the petrochemical industry’s feedstock to transportation fuels’ main component. However, due to the current events, including post-pandemic demand and climate change, a severe fuel shortage has arisen.
It has paralyzed the global energy pipeline and resulted in major financial losses for businesses. The world economy has taken a big hit. One such example is the recently established EU Energy Platform, wishing to find alternative sources of energy and speed up the transition to a greener economy.
Even though businesses that produce various types of fossil fuels believe that this commodity will retain its value in the future, the energy sector has undertaken attempts to discover an alternative for fossil fuels. That is renewable energy.
Case in point, the usage of renewable energy is predicted to rise and reach 161 exajoules by 2050. This includes solar energy, wind power, hydroelectric energy, biomass, and geothermal power, all deployed thanks to the latest tech and web-based applications.
Renewable sources offer an endless supply of energy for both commercial and residential usage. Solar power is the ideal illustration of a renewable energy source, which we’ll discuss in this article, but from a technical point of view. More specifically, we’ll cover all the intricacies of creating a web-based solar design application like Aurora Solar.
One potential solution to ending the energy crisis is solar power, which is why solar panel companies hold such a strong market position. According to predictions, the market for solar panel coatings would grow by nearly 143 percent between 2021 and 2026 and reach a value of $9.46 billion. Still, for utility-scale projects to scale up and maintain resources efficiently, the computerization of solar energy systems is essential.
Besides, clean alternative energy solutions, like solar energy apps, are more eco-friendly since they meet our power demands with no negative effects like the release of greenhouse gasses. Hence, developing solar design applications is a sustainable practice that makes your business environmentally safe, too.
The sun is a vital energy supplier in the changeover to clean energy since it produces more energy than humans could ever require. Let’s see how software development services come in handy in the transition to a greener future!
Types of Solar Software Applications
As the worldwide build-out rates for solar and wind increase by a factor of five and eight, respectively, it’s predicted that renewable power will account for 80–90% of the world’s energy mix by 2050. In most countries, the cost of solar and wind energy is already less than that of fossil fuels, and their cost competitiveness is expected to rise over time.
Therefore, it makes sense for businesses to focus their efforts on developing tools and software products to accelerate the growth of solar energy. One such example is solar design software with many uses across the energy business.
Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy is a green and emissions-free energy source that doesn’t discharge dangerous chemicals or greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere or water system. Thus, a web-based solar design tool is a crucial asset that helps businesses harness the full potential of technology in the photovoltaic sector. These solar design tools come in different types to address specific client demands.
One practice that helps speed up the development process
Solar design app
Solar software products offer automation and project requirements management using one platform only. These assist industry players in optimizing their repetitive work.
Thus, by automating a system’s design, solar design applications allow solar businesses to give their clients accurate quotes in a timely manner. You may model the design and performance of a photovoltaic power system using certain software, e.g., Aurora Solar.
The key factors to consider include the area appropriate for solar panel installation and the annual consumption of power. Depending on the property, additional parameters such as shading analysis and the efficacy of solar panels and inverters also come into play. We’ll review the main benefits of solar design apps shortly.
Energy management system
PV system developers and owners require robust software to manage the solar sites. Through data automation, these software solutions can enhance the accuracy rate and functionality of the energy management process. The storage components may also facilitate the operation of solar systems.
Customer identification app
For a solar power business, finding new clients takes a lot of time and finances. Customer identification software handles this task brilliantly, leaving behind the door-to-door sales and various platforms containing customer data. It streamlines the sales process and assists clients in contacting solar power installers.
Such systems work online or are integrated with Google. This way, solar installers can contact their leads and inform them of the bids, installation processes, and payment alternatives.
Customer relationship management software (CRM)
When you have your customers identified, you can now focus on the solar project itself. Solar installers can do this more easily thanks to CRM software. Yet, to make your solar project work well, a considerable and planned effort is required. Both private and business client management tasks may be handled by CRM software that is properly designed and packed with features. In addition, they may have functions that are often found in other kinds of applications (e.g., asset management and system design).
Proposal generation/system design software
The swift success of any solar installation company is defined by its ability to give its clients full support in monitoring the progress of installing a PV system and providing the most suitable generation proposals. Today, they can do so by using a solar design platform.
Such PV system software may be an effective tool for automating the work and providing consumers with a precise and trustworthy system estimate. It also simplifies the engineering process by effortlessly integrating the performance modeling elements with the system architecture. Plus, when engineers are working on many projects, having a variety of features for the designs helps them conserve resources.
Financial risk management software
For each type of business operation, maintaining financial control is essential. These days, organizations in the solar industry also frequently create software products for financial risk management. When seeking to purchase solar panels for their houses, the majority of clients want to pay in cash upfront.
This solar software can process pertinent data to help create electricity rate plans, tariffs, and subsidies. All of which can assist clients in understanding how solar items may affect their electricity costs. As a result, solar enterprises may be able to contact lenders who can provide financing options thanks to these software programs.
Why Are Solar Software Applications So Popular?
Your business can significantly profit from solar design tools by saving money on PV system installation, decreasing risk with smaller projects, and, above all, maximizing the use of solar PV systems to lower business expenses associated with renewable energy. This is why modern businesses are favoring these solar power solutions.
It makes sense to use and create these tools due to a number of reasons, especially in the case of solar design applications. Thanks to design automation, it’s considerably simpler to deliver accurate solar software sales pitches to potential prospects now. While saving money and time, some software solutions include layout and performance modeling.
Designers, software product engineers, and vendors can benefit from solar power software by producing thorough designs for solar systems faster and more easily. But before we talk about the benefits of solar energy applications, let’s first understand how they work.
How Does a Solar Design Application Work?
Step-by-step modeling of solar plants, simulation, and analysis are fundamental for efficient PV system installation in the power world.
With this in mind, solar PV installations are expected to contribute 60% of the growth in renewable energy capacity globally in 2022, as 190 GW will be put into operation, up 25 percent from last year. Nearly two-thirds of the total increase in photovoltaic capacity this year will come from utility-scale projects.
Every project is unique though when it comes to developing applied and integrated PV (e.g., BAPV and BIPV), so thorough and comprehensive planning is necessary to maximize the efficiency and costs of the solar design.
The modern market offers a variety of solar design tools. They are accessible either online, on a PC, or as mobile or tablet applications. The calculation of solar irradiance, shading loss, energy output, financial feasibility, and 3D models of PV installations and projects have all been done using solar PV design applications.
What is a solar software application? It’s a design asset commonly used by PV development, construction, and engineering firms for managing their alternative power initiatives for the most energy-efficient results.
Such renewable technology has gone viral these days. The reason for this is that a solar design app helps businesses track the entire solar project from scratch and relies on software-based tools for measuring performance and energy output.
Selecting components that are suitable for the system and environment is an essential part of system design. Since electrical pieces like PV modules, mounting structures, inverters, isolators, generators, etc. are often quite pricey, they must be of the highest quality. However, this is more about the internal mechanism of a PV design app.
Let’s focus on the technical aspect now and examine the features that place solar design apps among the best solutions for energy companies. What are the key functionalities of a traditional solar design application?
Solar Engineering Functionalities
- Layout automation: Users want a solar panel layout tool that includes all the elements to visualize the placement of modules and buildings and create a solar energy system. Things to consider for arranging structures in the appropriate locations are physical constraints like water bodies, trees, and slopes.
Based on the selected criteria, users may perform the topographical analysis to assess the appropriateness of various site areas. A sophisticated tool will then change the landscape to mimic the execution of earthworks. Besides, the layout tool produces georeferenced drawings of the various layout components.
- Electrical gear estimates: This tool helps arrange the electrical equipment (e.g., various power stations, combiner boxes, and wires) and size crucial components, like cables, transformers, and safety devices.
A solar design application allows the construction of the blocks that best match the layout for each inverter, string box, or DC bus, in the ideal location based on the electrical equipment that the user has provided. The maximum and lowest number of modules per string are required for calculations, in addition to numerous electrical setups of PV plants and the dimensions of protective devices.
- Energy production: When building design software, you need to add a tool that enables users to predict how much electricity the PV system will generate. The computations for energy analysis might include 3D visuals and provide users with a full results sheet.
The energy yield computation model replicates trackers, mono facial and bifacial PV modules, as well as fixed structures. This way, a solar design app helps engineers and solar designers achieve an ideal balance between electricity production per square foot and energy output per module.
- Financial analysis: Solar software solutions must include financial reporting, including key KPIs like CAPEX, LCOE, ROI, and IRR. With these metrics in mind, solar engineers and designers may quickly assess several locations and setups and select the one that is best for their plant.
- Customized results: Sophistication of a software product is nothing without customizable features. Users need to have an opportunity to tailor the PV system design to each project.
To provide the most accurate planning, each project site has certain features that must be taken into account. Additionally, as projects progress, there may be minor adjustments that need to be made.
Find out how to set the project off to a great start before the first line of code
- Cybersecurity: Data-driven projects and technologies are notoriously prone to cyberattacks. It’s of the utmost importance to ensure that your web-based solar design application is secure. Therefore, login authentication is necessary for solar software to block access from unauthorized users.
- Cloud-based deployment: Cloud-based platforms have an incredible security advantage due to their simultaneous patching and updating across network endpoints. What’s more, your team can work on projects remotely thanks to cloud-hosted software. By automatically updating project files when users make changes, it prevents the chances of duplicate versions of documents being in use.
Which Types of Businesses Can Take Advantage of Solar Design Application?
Many businesses profit from solar design software since it allows solar energy suppliers to streamline the design and sales operations. Companies may carry out shading analysis, design systems, NEC validations, analyze financing possibilities, make sales offers, and much more with such software. In addition, a number of solar solutions, like Aurora Solar, support groups with sophisticated engineering, remote site analysis, and energy output forecasts.
So, who benefits from using PV software for energy management?
To assess a piece of land’s viability and calculate its fundamental engineering and energy output estimations, developers need solar design software. Faster investment prospects are also discovered thanks to this solution. Many utility corporations and independent power producers (IPPs) use PV software for the same purpose.
A great achievement behind solar structure design software is that it aims to replace a wide range of engineering paperwork that includes bills of materials, design drawings, cable lists, and electrical diagrams. This assists PV developers in delivering this documentation to their buyers or EPC contractors (aka Engineering, Procurement, and Construction).
Solar EPC Contractors
Now let’s move on up the PV system supply chain. Solar contractors must keep the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) under control by reducing the expenses on engineering and construction of the plant.
How can a solar design application come in handy here? It develops technical documentation with customized data, such as cost analyses and energy yield simulations. Thus, engineering crews can save costs on plant designs and feasibility studies by performing the task in-house.
Solar Engineering Firms
Engineers can significantly speed up their work by making the use of solar software. PV engineers can increase energy output while lowering building costs by reducing their LCOE and the time needed for solar energy design.
As such, with robust solar system design software, engineers are capable of producing designs and studies in larger quantities and in less time. All this translates to more time for determining the most optimal solution for each project and delivering high-quality outcomes.
Solar Equipment Manufacturers
Many good PV system apps, like Aurora Solar software, are also utilized by PV equipment manufacturers to assess the device’s energy efficiency. In this case, a software product becomes a necessity in the production stage because it delivers designs and products that set them apart from the market competitors.
10 Key Features of Aurora Solar Design Application
If you’ve been hip-deep in the solar energy sector for a while, you obviously heard of Aurora Solar Inc. But to enlighten the newbies, Aurora Solar is a SaaS business specialized in creating software for solar design, proposals, and sales. It operates under the environmentally important idea to promote the development of solar energy.
Based on computer vision, Aurora Solar has created specialized cloud-based data monitoring to automate obstacle identification. This app is particularly critical for PV-tailored projects with numerous roof impediments.
To move to the synchronized online solar data acquired from the digital simulations of solar plants and designs, Aurora Solar is the best option. With simply an address and a power bill, you can build a comprehensive engineering design and sales pitch.
Both commercial and residential solar systems may be modeled using the Aurora Solar app.
The simplicity of use is one of the best features of the Aurora Solar platform. With remote site analysis (using Google Street View), users may develop correct business projects, boost sales with persuasive offers, and give clients realistic energy output figures. All you need to start using this solar panel design software is your address and a power bill. After that, cutting-edge analytics and modeling will move things along. The manual effort to repeat the same process would take a lot longer.
2. Simple Design Interface
Users are hungry for easy-to-use web-based applications. Aurora Solar is one of them. In-depth shading analysis, measurements, system design, and other essential design components can be carried out directly in the app. Additionally, all solar designs are automatically verified for electrical limitations, industry standards, and NEC rule compliance.
3. Efficient Sales Proposals
Sales proposals seamlessly bring in a unique project and client data, 3D graphics, and financial analysis into any number of professionally designed templates. It uses the project and design data previously established in the app, ensuring a uniform, yet personalized experience for users. To explain the benefit to potential solar off-takers, all of this data may be included in personalized sales pitches, together with thorough visualizations of the site model and suggested design.
4. Smart Financial Report
This feature allows users to swiftly assess a solar project’s feasibility and simulate several of the most typical finance models with ease. Financial information, such as cash flows, payback periods, LCOE, and bill savings, are accurately and dynamically shown using financial models that take into account the project’s energy profile diagram. Users may compute metrics like LCOE or IRR for each of the customer’s financing choices, including loans, leases, and PPAs.
5. Performance Simulation
The only program presently available that can simulate performance at the submodule level is Aurora, which provides NREL-validated performance rates. This enables more precise modeling of systems using Module-Level Power Electronics (MLPEs), like microinverters and DC optimizers. A production loss diagram and a chart showing predicted production per month are also produced by the Aurora Solar design app.
6. Energy Consumption Profile
Customers’ load profiles may be modeled by users through uploading Green Button interval data, or their load profiles can be estimated annually based on building attributes.
7. Precise 3D Site Modeling
This is a technique that automatically estimates the roof features according to the perimeter and is applied to promptly create site models (i.e., architectural 3d visuals). To guarantee the precision of the building model, the system employs LiDAR technology and computer vision.
8. Shading Analysis
Solar panel installers may save time and money by omitting truck rolls thanks to Aurora’s remote shadow analysis, which is just as good as on-site shade assessments. Moreover, the bankable shade reports provided by Aurora have been approved by most of the credible rebate bodies.
9. Design of the Solar System
You can create a unique solar system using Aurora’s database of modules, inverters, and other parts. Engineering mistakes like improper setback infractions or string lengths are automatically caught by this software product. The “AutoDesigner” function, for instance, allows users to input the desired percentage of energy compensation or the goal of saving on energy bills, and let it automatically cycle through hundreds of different designs to identify the best one.
10. Estimation of Post-Solar Costs
Aurora is able to accurately calculate post-solar costs for net-metered clients with its large database of utility prices and the option to input customized utility rates. Additionally, it may model the revenue from preferential tariffs and other incentives, such as SRECs.
How to Create Solar Design Application Like Aurora Solar?
As the PV industry matures, developing a software product that meets all consumer demands becomes more challenging. So, to cover all the bases, solar businesses must take a few important steps before building software and entering the market with a new solution.
Do a Thorough Competitor Analysis
Understanding your rivals’ strengths and shortcomings in relation to your own is the goal of competitor analysis, along with identifying any market gaps. It’s a fundamental step for getting a full picture of how to refine your solar business strategies.
By studying your market competitors, you can set the right benchmarks and use them to define crucial gaps in the solar business. Most importantly, this advanced analysis will help you find that missing link that will make your future clients want to purchase your software product.
You need to define your competitors and examine their products, benefits, sales and marketing strategies, tech stack, and social media presence, as well as conduct a SWOT analysis of the key market players.
Hire a Tech Partner for Custom Software Development
Today, many businesses turn to tech agencies for assistance with custom software development to let experts do their job. Our Visartech team handles a plethora of software development services, including web app development, WebGL solutions, and Web3 products, to name a few.
If you’re hatching the idea of creating a new solar design application, you need to find a reliable software development partner first. Visartech work as a software product development and high-tech consultancy agency extends beyond simply filling positions for software engineers and developers. We spend time getting to know our partners to elicit their long-term objectives.
You may go through our portfolio to see in-depth examples of the work we’ve done in the past and be certain that we have vast expertise in creating unique SaaS products with smart architecture, solid backends, and interactive interfaces.
Learn all about our approach to software developement
Define a List of Solar Design Application Features
With so many solar energy solutions at our disposal, it’s hard to tell which features to prioritize and which solar software to pick. We’ve put up a thorough list of key features to look for to help you better navigate the solar software environment and set your solar design application apart from the competition.
What are these features?
- Simple user interface
- HD imagery + LiDAR technology
- Bankable shade reports (like in Aurora Solar)
- Irradiance and performance simulation reports
- A database of current utility rates
- AI-powered PV design
- Storage capabilities
- Energy consumption modeling
- Demand-driven design service
- Sun path modeling
- Personalized proposals
- Multipage templates
- Drag and drop editing
- Integrated site design into a proposal
- Permission settings
- Placeholder values
- A pay-back period modeling
- Monthly/yearly bill savings
- Large incentives database
- Several funding options
- Depreciation schedules
How Much Does It Cost to Create a Solar Design Application?
When it comes to the cost of developing a web-based application like Aurora Solar, you should understand that it directly depends on the type of your app and its complexity. But there are a few factors that might help you to get a better sense of the final cost.
These factors include:
- Type of the software product;
- Tech stack;
- PV project scope;
- Team composition;
- Recruiting options;
- Location of the development team.
When creating a solar design app, the amount of effort required will determine which expertise needs to be added to the development team. To create quality and professionally looking software from scratch, you’d need to hire the following experts:
- Business analyst for market and target audience analysis.
- UI/UX designer to guarantee lots of conversions.
- QA engineer for product testing.
- Software developers to make your software product take root.
- Software architect for building a complete project’s architectural visualization.
- Product owner who knows the final outcome and leads the app development process.
- Team lead because each team needs a leader.
- Project manager to lead the project, and handle reporting.
In addition to the technical scope of work, a solar design application requires a wide range of professionals to enable the exchange of technical and economic knowledge in the chain of multiple stakeholders. The efficient solar design tool cannot do without taking into account geophysical, technical, economic, and environmental decisions. This knowledge also ensures successful cooperation between the clients and the contractors.
On a Final Note
The global energy crisis is testing our ability to adhere to new realities and stakes for renewable energy innovations.
The growing demand for software-based solutions in the solar industry has surged as a result of the increasing use of solar rooftop installations globally. Since it was first used to build and model solar arrays, photovoltaic software has advanced significantly. It now includes programs for project monitoring and software to increase manufacturer sales.
A web-based solar design application, like Aurora Solar, took a giant leap towards promoting renewable energy for businesses that can now precisely evaluate several possible solar installation locations and boost closing rates by using only one tool. You can choose to adopt green company practices by creating your own solar software, too.