Today we added a few more updates to the Platform, and we also want to use this post to highlight a couple of important capabilities that you might not be aware of.
You may have noticed that the form revealed by the Change button on the Preview Proposal page has been growing in recent months; it now contains 3 “tabs” that allow you to make quick adjustments to a variety of values, and then regenerate the proposal. With the recent introduction of the powerful new Incentives approach — which now allows you to specify additional line items on your proposal, as well as discounts and incentives — some of the settings PREVIOUSLY on the Change form are no longer there. Specifically, today we removed the “Permit Cost” item from the Change form; the Cost of Permits appears in the “Adders” section of the Incentives page. So if you need to adjust the Cost of Permits (which should be rare), just go back to the Incentives page and change it there. Note that you can still change the Price per Watt via the Change form (as well as on the Incentives page).
And speaking of the Incentives page . . . we mentioned this week that we enhanced the MACRS incentive so that you can now select a MACRS depreciation calculation that matches your customer’s corporate tax rate (15%, 25%, 34%, or 35%). In that announcement, we explained that you would need to visit the “Calculation Sequence” for each state, and save it, in order for these new incentives to appear. Well, today we eliminated that step. The Platform now checks your enabled incentives, and if it finds any that were never added in to the calculation sequence, it simply adds them to the bottom.
The incentive calculation sequence is one of the more powerful features of the Platform, and perhaps one of the least understood. Basically, it allows you to apply certain incentives and rebates FIRST, and adjust the cost of the PV system, and then use that adjusted cost for the rest of your incentives. The Calculation Sequence form is your tool for setting this up: you simply drag and drop your incentives into groups, and insert “Adjusted Total” separators between the groups. All incentives within the same group will be applied to the same total cost — thus, the order of incentives WITHIN a group does not matter. You only need to be concerned with the calculation sequence if you have multiple groups — if federal, state, or local regulations require that you apply an incentive AFTER other incentives have been deducted from the cost. (This is also why we give you the ability to specify a different calculation sequence for each state — because regulations differ from state to state.)
So . . . when you add a new custom incentive, or when you select a new built-in incentive, we will now add it automatically to the last group of incentives in your calculation sequence. If you don’t have multiple groups (i.e., you don’t need “adjusted totals” when applying your incentives), then you don’t need to care about this. But if the calculation sequence for your state DOES require adjusted totals, then you should click the Calculation Sequence button for the state, and drag/drop the incentives into the proper sequence.
We have a regularly scheduled “Deep Dive” interactive session on incentives; feel free to sit in if you want to learn more about the incentive calculation sequence.
The other change we made today involves the installation schedule graphic that appears in the proposal. It has long been a standard feature of the Platform that we automatically drop in a “pro-forma” installation schedule. We have a number of different schedules, and the Platform chooses one automatically, based on the system size. You can also select a different schedule manually, by clicking the Change button on the Preview page and selecting a schedule from the drop-down list. In addition, all of our pre-defined installation schedules are available in all color schemes, so regardless of which “theme” you chose when you set up your account, you’ll have an installation schedule graphic that matches your colors.
Did you know that you can provide your OWN installation schedules? If you provide us with an image, we’ll load it into the database — for your exclusive use, in your proposals. You can even provide multiple schedules, with different names that will appear in the drop-down list. And, if you want the option to OMIT the schedule from the proposal entirely, we can add that option to your drop-down list, too.
We have more enhancements coming, so stay tuned to this blog and contact us at any time if you’d like more information about these or any other features of the ModSolar Platform!