Today ModSolar reaches another milestone as a company and for the solar industry as a whole. Ever since we introduced our patent-pending Panel Layout Technology last September, we knew that using it to create panel layouts on a roof was simply the beginning of what the technology could do and where we would take it.
Back in July we announced a partnership with Ecolibrium Solar of Ohio, a forward-looking manufacturer of polymer flat-roof mounting equipment. Ecolibrium realized that the Panel Layout Technology could be extended to create an accurate estimate of how much of their equipment would be needed for any particular flat-roof PV system. By automating this process, it fills a key void in their sales process and gives this small company a real advantage in a crowded and competitive marketplace.
By extending Panel Layout Technology in partnership with ModSolar, Ecolibrium solved a key problem – getting quotes out faster. Prior to this technology, their sales department would have to judge the interest level of a deal to determine whether or not to make the time investment of providing a quote through the design department, which was expensive and could take up to several days. If it made sense, the salesperson sent the property address to the design deparment, who would work up a quote. Then it would go off to the customer, and negotiations would begin.
But now with this automated solution, estimates are assembled in real-time by the sales department, and the design department isn’t involved until the deal is ready to be closed and a CAD drawing for permits is needed. This pushes the estimating process down into the sales department, completely freeing up the design department to work on deals that are actually deals, not simply prospective jobs.
This functionality was released on Ecolibrium’s website in September in a “widget” format that is available publicly to Ecolibrium’s customers and partners, and was also used by their own internal staff. It would generate an estimate only, but didn’t have any e-commerce capability.
Today that changes. Today, all ModSolar users can generate a quote for Ecolibrium equipment right inside the Platform, and if the estimate is to your liking, you can order the product as well. Here’s a quick video to show how it all works:
It’s easy to get a quote for Ecofoot 2 flat roof racking components from Ecolibrium. You can access it in one of two ways. First, when you’re on the panel layout page, and you click on the “Panel Spacing” button, you’ll now see a new option (for flat-roof layouts):
When you select “Use Ecofoot 2 Racking,” you will be prompted to re-run your layout. Re-running your layout is necessary to use the spacing required for Ecofoot 2. Once you’ve completed this re-run, you’ll see a new button at the bottom of the page below the panel layout solutions called “Show Me Materials Estimate.” Click on this and you will see an entirely new popup:
Fill in the information as best you can for this property – remember you can always go back at any time to modify your layout and get a revised estimate. (There’s also some helpful information if you mouse-over the “?” next to the “Occupancy Class” drop down.) This information is sent to Ecolibrium for use in an eventual ballast plan. Once you click “OK” here, you’ll see your estimate!
From here you can have someone from Ecolibrium contact you, or, if you’re ready, you can “Buy this material” right from the Platform! It’s a brand new day in solar e-commerce!
The second way you can get a quote for Ecolibrium material is to select a proposal that you’ve already done – as long as it’s a flat roof – and click to get the menu of options for this proposal. There you will see an option “Redesign with Ecofoot 2.” Here’s what it looks like:
When you select “Redesign with Ecofoot 2,” the Platform will know that you want to get an estimate for Ecofoot 2 racking. The Platform will take you to the Panel Layout page, automatically select Ecofoot 2 and incorporate the proper spacing in the re-runs of the layouts for the panel you had previously chosen. Once the re-runs stop, you can click “Show Me Materials Estimate” again, and voila, you will see your estimate for this layout!
As you can see, we’ve been able to leverage the core idea of the ModSolar Platform and Panel Layout Technology in a whole new way, gaining a ton of efficiency along the way, to make life easier for both the installer and the racking provider. This is the first of a series of innovations in the equipment space you will see ModSolar release over the next 12 months. We’re very excited about this opportunity, what it can do for you and our partner Ecolibrium Solar. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.