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The MODsolar Journal

Your Reliable Source of Solar Energy Articles, Industry News, and Platform Updates

News and Events, MODsolar Press Releases, solar companies, local solar install

MODsolar, LLC Re-launches this Week with Change in Ownership

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 2:51 AM

Philadelphia, PA (November 8, 2017) -- MODsolar, LLC., creator of the solar industry's first open platform for visually designing PV systems and creating proposals, is re-launching this week, announcing a change in ownership and a refocused mission on creating simple tools that help solar installers.

 
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Platform Updates

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Posted on December 29, 2016 at 10:11 AM

The most compelling reason for a home or business owner to "go solar" is: cost savings. Install solar modules on a property, and over the lifetime of the solar array, it's possible to predict how much will be saved. In fact, one of the core features of the Modsolar Platform is its ability to perform the calculations as accurately as possible to yield those predictions. We consider annual electricity rate increases, annual rates of solar module "degradation," up-front costs, financing costs, rebates, tax credits, performance-based incentives, installation location / orientation / angle, shading, etc. The Platform supports full customization of sales proposals, and virtually every single proposal generated by our clients includes some illustration of the cost savings.

 
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Platform Updates

Accounting for Reductions in Electricity Usage

Posted on December 15, 2016 at 9:26 AM

Often, when a homeowner or business owner installs a solar system, they implement other energy-saving measures at the same time. Examples might include programmable thermostats, LED light bulbs, energy-efficient appliances, etc. In fact, some solar installers offer these and other energy-saving upgrades to their customers, in addition to solar installations.

If you are proposing a solar system as well as energy-saving measures, or if your customer has indicated that he plans to reduce his energy usage in the future, it is now possible to account for reduced electricity usage within the Modsolar Platform!

 
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Platform Updates

Changes coming to the aerial image controls

Posted on July 7, 2016 at 4:38 PM

Google often makes changes to Google Maps, which we use in the MODsolar Platform to show the aerial images of the buildings. Generally, these changes improve the functionality for users, making interaction easier.

 
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Platform Updates

Finance the FITC

Posted on June 8, 2016 at 4:42 PM

In March 2016, we added 3 new easy-to-use loan calculations to the Modsolar Platform: a simple loan, a loan with a delayed start to the payments, and a loan with interest-only payments during an initial period.

Later, we added (to each of these loan types) the option to finance the "year 1 incentives" (notably the FITC -- federal income tax credit -- but also any incentive that is realized in the first year after installation).

This week we added yet another enhancement. When the year 1 incentives are financed (i.e., included in the loan principal, and therefore impacting the monthly payments and the amount of interest that is paid), it is possible to specify a month in which the consumer will make a "balloon payment" equal to the amount of the year 1 incentives, after which the loan is re-amortized based on the remaining principal balance due.

 
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Platform Updates

New Feature: Proposal Details Popup

Posted on January 13, 2016 at 7:30 AM

After launching the MODsolar Platform’s latest feature (Upload Document), we've introduced another enhancement on the Lead Details page.

This new feature allows you to see the details and what is inside of each proposal without the need to open it. This will not only save time but will also make it easier for you to locate which proposal you are looking for.

 
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MODsolar Stories

Why MODsolar Moved to Center City Philly

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 4:11 PM

The story of every company is the personal story of the entrepreneur(s) that make it happen.  So a bit about my story to explain why we're so excited to announce that MODsolar has moved from its suburban home in Ardmore to North 13th St., in Center City.

 
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Solar Industry Insights, MODsolar Stories, tax, philadelphia

Tax details on why ModSolar is moving into Center City Philadelphia

Posted on January 31, 2015 at 11:03 AM

NOTE: This material was updated on Feb. 12 to correct an error in the information about the Philadelphia Net Income Tax.

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For those of you that saw my post on why MODsolar is moving into Center City and wanted details about the tax side, here's some more details:

  • City Wage Tax - no getting around that.  ~3.75% of gross wages, paid by the employee (NOTE: we knew this would be an issue for our folks - so we grossed-up the salaries of anyone living outside the city at the time of the move - to account for city wage tax and make the move take-home neutral for them)
  • U&O tax - use and occupancy - generally calculated by your landlord and added to your rent (or you remit separately), but a portion of what you pay in rent every year - generally about 10%.  Given the low-cost of space in the city,  not really an issue
  • BIRT - Gross - so this was where the fear came from - a tax on gross revenue - but it was so low - 1.45 mils - that it became a non-issue (figure $14,500 per $1mm in revenue)
  • BIRT - Net - this was where we thought we could be in real trouble.  If you're a fast-growing start-up whose VC's want you burning cash to grow - you don't have to worry about this one until you're heavily in the money.  But, if you're growing-but-not-on-fire business, this is a concern.  It's 6.45% of your Net Profit - yes, you read that right!  But it's on your taxable net income.
 
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Platform Updates

MODsolar announces two new features!

Posted on December 9, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Better Production Accuracy

Good news: Your MODsolar proposals now provide a more accurate estimate of the electrical production of a given PV installation. NREL (the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab) has released a new version of its PVWatts calculation facility, and we have integrated it into the MODsolar Platform. NREL reports that the new version (PVWatts v5) provides improved accuracy. On average, users will find that the new algorithm shows a 7%-9% increase in power output, compared with version 4. "The new results much more closely match measured system performance data," according to NREL. You can get the details here: Solar PVWatts V5 Doc

Easier Sign-on for ModSolar Users

Are you a MODsolar customer in a large organization? If so, you probably have to deal with logging into multiple systems and the associated annoyance of keeping track of multiple passwords. MODsolar can relieve you of a bit of that nuisance: our new "single sign-on" facility can let you use the MODsolar Platform without having to log in, if you are already logged into one of your company's secure systems.

To use this facility, your IT staff will have to implement a special authorization procedure. Ask them if your company supports the SAML protocol. (SAML stands for Security Assertion Markup Language). If so, you're well positioned to eliminate the need to ever log in to Modsolar. Have your IT people contact us to discuss the details.

Both new features—production calculations based on PVWatts v5 and single sign-on—are available immediately. PVWatts 5 is already the default for new proposals. If, for whatever reason, you prefer to continue using PVWatts v4, that option is available as a setting that your MODsolar administrator can change.

 
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Platform Updates

Navigate your proposal previews with the new thumbnail feature

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 3:12 PM

We’ve recently added several features to simplify your life as a MODsolar user. Some are subtle enough that you might not even notice them, but one stands out: thumbnail-based navigation of proposal previews.

Previously, when you previewed a completed proposal, there was no way to get a broad overview. You simply scrolled down from the top to whatever pages you were interested in. That was adequate in most cases, but if your company is one that uses particularly long proposals (8 or 10 pages, for example), checking the finished proposals could get tedious.

Now, the process has been simplified. When you first preview a proposal, you see a set of page thumbnails.

 
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