Demand for commercial and industrial (C&I) solar is booming, with many opportunities for residential and small-scale installers to expand into a growing and profitable sector.
Despite the reality that this past year was challenging for many companies riding the infamous “solar coaster,” commercial solar remained stable in 2023. Helped by incentives established in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, commercial solar was even able to increase quarterly throughout this past year despite industry-wide challenges.
Of course, just because the opportunity exists, it doesn’t mean that breaking into C&I solar is easy.
After all, the commercial solar development process requires significantly more effort than typical residential installations, and once you manage to get over the initial learning curve, it can still be difficult to manage your time and resources effectively within the C&I space.
Breaking into commercial solar — features you need
Compared to residential projects, commercial solar installations are much more complex, often requiring more of just about everything. More time. More resources. More software tools. And hopefully, more profit ahead.
In our recent webinar, Expanding into C&I: The Tools You Need for Success, we investigated the essential software tools and features that can help you fast-track your way into C&I solar. We’ll detail three of them here; listen to the full webinar on demand to get more insights.
1. LIDAR to speed up the design to sales handoff
With LIDAR mapping that covers over 98% of the US population, HelioScope is built upon an NREL-approved engine to ensure data accuracy.
Designed to help reduce time-consuming site visits, LIDAR in HelioScope allows users to create accurate, high-quality C&I solar designs, even before setting a single foot on the physical property that will host the system.
By speeding up the sometimes-sluggish C&I solar design and sales process, HelioScope can help developers obliterate backlogs, quickly generate multiple options for clients, and move prospective projects forward with less worry about nitty-gritty detail accuracy.
2. APIs to sync teams and avoid data entry errors
Even more so than residential solar, commercial systems require a massive team effort and typically involve far more stakeholders than your average home installation. From designers to consultants, EPCs, and necessary specialists, consistency in data is absolutely critical when selling and developing solar energy at scale.
To streamline cross-team communications and minimize lost time between project steps, HelioScope users can integrate several APIs to improve their solar workflows and eliminate opportunities for human error. Using custom automation to cut time spent moving data across platforms, Aurora’s growing API library can help your team efficiently design and sell commercial projects with speed and confidence, no matter what your unique tool set looks like.
3. Financial analysis tools to calculate expected ROI
Following the footsteps of massive companies like Walmart and Apple, most savvy business owners understand the value of commercial solar energy systems, both financially and environmentally. Calculating exact financial benefits, however, can be very complicated when considering all of the variables at stake in a C&I solar project.
In order to help your prospects quickly understand the value of their unique solar investment, HelioScope includes many powerful, yet intuitive, financial analysis tools. Using HelioScope, you can:
- Use our utility rate builder template to model commercial and industrial rates
- Make ROI calculations based on system price, loan structures, commercial solar tax credits, expected savings, depreciation deductions, and more
- Close sales more quickly with instant report and proposal generation that includes your branding and design settings
- Use our out of the box integration with Energy Toolbase to create a best in class Design & battery storage modeling workflow
With few signs of slowing down anytime soon, the C&I solar space is likely headed toward continued growth and development for years to come.
If you’re considering an expansion into the C&I solar market, Aurora and HelioScope are here to help you save time and reduce expenses within your design and sales workflows. Beyond our high-quality software, advanced APIs, and user-friendly features, we also offer professional commercial modeling services and dedicated customer support to those growing their businesses within the C&I space.
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