U.S. startup launches online platform for residential PV system purchase

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Monalee, a U.S.-based software company serving the consumer solar PV market, has developed a web-based platform to enable investing in residential rooftop PV and related home energy systems.

The software provides estimates, quotes, financing, permitting, installation, and interconnection services after the homeowner enters their address, current bill, and choice of PV or battery, or both. It also calculates savings, a subsidy or credit calculator, and after-sales support via an app.

“Ordering and completing solar purchases must move online because that is what consumers want. They are used to it, even for major purchases such as buying a car,” Monalee CEO and co-founder Walid Halty, told pv magazine, adding that the challenge with solar is the need for site visits to be able to develop the project.

Monalee solved the site visit challenge by tapping into geographical information system (GIS) data and imagery from Google Maps via an application programming interface (API), known as Solar API.

“But the Solar API covered only half of the US,” said Halty, describing how the company partnered with earth imaging specialists that provided photogrammetry LIDAR and drone imagery data for wider coverage.

Deep learning techniques were applied to enable the software to detect roof edges, for example, or to identify building features, such as a chimney or air conditioning units.

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Monalee is a licensed general contractor and master electrician in 24 U.S. states. It works with small to midsize installers as sub-contractors, as well as other partners, such as equipment suppliers and finance providers to supply the services sold via its platform, according to Halty, who said that the company has served 1,900 homeowners since its founding in 2022. He attributes it to the service being “less time-consuming” and “more economical” compared to conventional methods.

Offering lower prices has led to some unexpected results. “We were surprised to see demand in parts of the country, like Georgia, Alabama, and Kentucky, that are not typically big solar markets due to lower electricity prices. The largest market by volume are Florida and California, as expected,” said Halty.

Monalee has raised a total of $10 million in venture capital, with the most recent round closing in March 2024. The company has plans to expand to 35 states this year.

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