SolarNexus gears up for launch of web-based software platform to help eliminate solar installers' paperwork

Instead of having to re-enter all the project details of a proposed installation eight to 10 times in proposals to customers, orders from suppliers, rebate and incentive applications, grid-interconnection applications and communications with contractors, such as distributor engineers, roofers and electricians, the platform will enable installers to enter the information once and share it more easily, said CEO Eric Alderman in an interview.

The workflow program will work with other tools as well. The company has already partnered with Clean Power Research, which runs a database of utility rates and incentives, and is looking for more partners with other tools to help solar installers. In addition, the software will also be able to help customers analyze their business, such as by averaging how long different steps take in different markets, for instance, Alderman said.

Some 10 installers are testing a beta version of the workflow program now, he said, and at Intersolar, SolarNexus was taking requests from more installers who want to participate in the private beta. The one year old company plans to expand testing in the next couple of weeks, he continued, and also hopes to get feedback from distributors and other players who work with installers.

SolarNexus is mainly targeting smaller installers developing residential and small commercial projects, Alderman explained. Small installers struggle to grow their businesses without simultaneously growing their staff and overhead, he said, and that’s where the company believes it can help.

"The industry is mom and pop businesses now; it needs to scale," he concluded. "We’re helping to make small companies more competitive and able to grow their business. And we’re doing it for the industry as a whole, because we believe smaller contractors will continue to [install] a very large part of the residential market."