Distributed Energy Research & Solutions, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that does business as EnergySage, announced it has received one of ten Department of Energy SunShot Incubator investments aimed at reducing soft costs associated with solar energy installations. EnergySage will use the $500,000 investment to develop and implement a web-based solar photovoltaic comparison-shopping platform.
Distributed Energy Research & Solutions, Inc. (d/b/a EnergySage: www.EnergySage.com) today announced it received one of ten Department of Energy SunShot Incubator investments aimed at reducing soft costs associated with solar energy installations. EnergySage will use the $500,000 investment to develop and implement a web-based solar photovoltaic (PV) comparison-shopping platform that will provide pricing transparency and facilitate open market interactions between property owners and solar PV installers. EnergySage is the only direct consumer-facing solution for reducing customer acquisition costs and the only East Coast company to receive an award.
“We believe that evaluating and investing in a solar PV system should be as easy as buying any other home appliance”
“EnergySage is thrilled to receive this SunShot award,” said Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of EnergySage. “By making it easier for consumers to navigate the solar PV system purchase process, we are lowering customer acquisition costs, lowering prices, helping installers improve profitability, and ultimately, expanding the market exponentially.”
The comparison-shopping product allows commercial and residential property owners to solicit multiple price quotes from an extensive list of pre-screened, high-quality solar PV installers. Quotes are then displayed in a standardized format that allows consumers to easily evaluate and compare quotes to select the best option. This helps consumers get the best price for solar PV systems from the best installers, while saving significant time and effort through automation. The comparison-shopping product will be fully integrated into EnergySage.com’s existing suite of free educational and analytical tools and its interactive peer-to-peer community, simplifying and expediting the clean energy system purchase process. The resulting EnergySage platform will be a one-stop-shop for consumers to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to execute a purchase.
Currently, customer acquisition costs represent approximately 25% of the price of an installed solar PV system. The EnergySage platform has the potential to reduce these costs by more than half. The net effect could be over a 10% decline in the price consumers pay. This, in conjunction with a simplified process and increased consumer confidence, will result in much wider adoption of solar PV systems.
By expanding the market and improving the efficiency of the sales process, the platform has the potential to increase solar PV installers’ revenues and profitability by delivering qualified, ready-to-buy leads while dramatically reducing sales costs and cycle times. These benefits also extend to other supply chain participants such as manufacturers, distributors, and financing companies.
Additional stakeholders such as advocacy organizations – including government, non-government, non-profits – who are promoting solar and other clean energy technologies will also be able to leverage EnergySage’s capabilities. The platform makes it easier and more cost-efficient to promote these technologies, educate their constituents, and help them purchase the appropriate solar PV systems at the best price.
The comparison-shopping product, currently under development, is expected to begin pilot testing in Q3 2012.
“We believe that evaluating and investing in a solar PV system should be as easy as buying any other home appliance,” continues Aggarwal. “We expect the EnergySage platform will do for the solar PV market what LendingTree has done for the mortgage market.”