Recommendations: Sorts listings by the number of recommendations our advisors have made over the past 30 days. Our advisors assess buyers’ needs for free and only recommend products that meet buyers’ needs. Vendors pay Software Advice for these referrals. Reviews: Sorts listings by the number of user reviews we have published, greatest to least. Sponsored: Sorts listings by software vendors running active bidding campaigns, from the highest to lowest bid. Vendors who have paid for placement have a ‘Visit Website’ button, whereas unpaid vendors have a ‘Learn More’ button. Avg Rating: Sorts listings by overall star rating based on user reviews, highest to lowest. A to Z: Sorts listings by product name from A to Z.
e-Builder is a cloud-based construction program management solution for capital projects that provides performance data across the project lifecycle. Facility owners can track business processes with centralized project informatio...Read more
Conest IntelliBid is a job cost estimating system designed specifically for commercial, industrial and residential electrical contractors. At its core, IntelliBid is a bid management and cost estimating system that helps contracto...Read more
Procore manages your projects, resources, and financials from project planning to closeout. The platform connects every project contributor with the owner and general or specialty contractor. The centralized dashboard allows manag...Read more
Jonas Enterprise is an award-winning, paperless construction management system that contains features for bid-management, estimating, accounting, and more, all with Jonas's impressive 24-hour support. ...Read more
Flexible estimating tool to quickly and accurately create estimates, Trimble’s Accubid Estimating is a full-featured estimating solution. Available in multiple configurations, Accubid provides a flexible solution for contractors o...Read more
B2W Estimate software for heavy civil construction estimating and bidding enables contractors to bid with speed, accuracy, and strategy. Users can pre-populate a centralized database with cost data and structures for labor, tasks,...Read more
CutterCroix’s GiddyUp platform is an all-inclusive cloud-based solution including a canvassing app, CRM, workflow and estimating system and a customer portal. The platform is designed for commercial and residential roofing and sid...Read more
IFS Applications is an extensive software system that serves the needs of large and medium-sized manufacturers with order-driven and mixed-mode management tools and full integration capabilities....Read more
Oracle Aconex is a cloud-based operation management solution for managing information and processes between companies on complex construction and engineering projects. Several functions include document management, workflow automa...Read more
SureCount by ConEst is an on-premise construction takeoff system designed for commercial, industrial and residential electrical contractors of all sizes. The system can also be used for other construction and specialty contractors...Read more
Eclipse by Explorer is a cloud-based construction accounting and project management solution designed for contractor businesses. It caters to medium to large construction companies belonging to different construction businesses, s...Read more
Ventus is a service and construction ERP solution that incorporates CRM, takeoff estimating, job costing, project management, service management, service dispatch, product distribution, inventory control, payroll and accounting in...Read more
Dataforma Roofing Software was originally designed for roofing contractors, but it is now utilized by other construction trades, including electrical, plumbing and HVAC. It is a web-based business management system that helps cont...Read more
B2W Track software for heavy civil construction field tracking and analysis enables contractors to manage projects and costs based on accurate, immediate information from the field on productivity, labor, materials, and equipment ...Read more
Builder Information System is a construction accounting and job costing for general contractors, specialty contractor, residential home builders, electrical and mechanical contractors as well as accountants. The solution provides ...Read more
Project Insight (PI) is award-winning work & project management software that helps companies manage and visualize projects, allocate personnel, streamline accounting, and track what work is being done throughout their entire orga...Read more
Ready to level up your business ? ?? JobNimbus is a CRM and contractor management solution suitable for home service companies. Manage your contacts, tasks, and projects from start to finish along with detailed reporting capabilit...Read more
For over 30 years, CMiC has delivered state-of-the-art software solutions, purpose-built for the construction industry. Since its inception, CMiC has maintained a laser focus on automating essential back-office functions – such as...Read more
Visual Planning is a hybrid resource management and scheduling platform that helps businesses to manage their assets and day-to-day operations. The solution can be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud.
Visual Planning o...Read more
Designing the layout for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar panels is a complicated process that many energy construction contractors need to manage while overseeing material costs and customer requirements.
Not only do contractors need to calculate the exact cost of raw materials required to install the solar panels, inverters, or power optimizers, they often also need to provide detailed return on investment (ROI) reports calculating annual energy savings for both commercial and residential customers.
All these administrative tasks can result in contractors having less time to spend on designing solar panel layouts. Enter solar design tools, which reduce administrative clutter by automating the design process and manage costs and customer requirements in a centralized dashboard.
In this buyers guide, we'll take a look at how solar design software helps automate key processes.
Solar software (aka solar design software) helps residential and commercial solar construction businesses plan and design layouts for installing PV panels on rooftops or other locations to optimize energy efficiency. These systems also help business manage solar sales proposals by showing customers PV panel design layouts, track material costs for PV system installations, manage energy storage, and generate energy usage reports and estimates.
View of photovoltaic solar system design in HelioScope (Source)
Common features of solar software
Solar software often comes loaded with features, many of which may not be specific to your business needs.
When making your software purchase, focus on the core or common features offered by your shortlisted solutions to ensure you invest in the right tool. Here are the common features you should look for when evaluating solar software:
2D and 3D drawing
Create 2D and 3D drawings of area layouts for PV panel installation.
Create 3D animations of PV panel layouts to gain a holistic view of PV electrical fittings.
Electrical schematic design
Create blueprints of the electrical schematics required to connect PV panels to main electrical units.
Bill of materials
Create a list of every part or component that makes up a product, including product numbers and quantities.
Users can import/export images, files, and PDFs as needed.
View information related to solar power consumption, financial analysis, and energy savings in a single dashboard.
What type of buyer are you?
Choosing the right solar software depends on the size and requirements of your solar industry business.
Here are three common types of solar software buyers and their unique considerations:
Small and midsize businesses. In this segment, buyers have a limited software budget, and their primary concern is often tool pricing. As small and midsize energy construction contractors typically offer solar energy solutions to residential units or smaller businesses, they can use cloud-based solar software instead of on-premise tools to stay within their budget.
Large enterprises. Businesses in this segment require software with advanced functionalities, and often have a larger budget to work with. Larger energy construction contractors cater to a wider audience, often installing solar panels on a bigger scale (e.g., warehouse rooftops, industrial buildings). Cloud-based solar software allows larger construction enterprises to choose from a suite of features such as 2D PV layout design, proposal generation, and sales management.
Best-of-breed buyers. This segment of buyers has mixed business requirements, similar to those listed above. Since they offer solar energy solutions to residences as well as bigger industrial units, these contractors often need solar software with a complete suite of features.
Benefits of solar software
No matter which of the above three buyer segments you belong in, solar software can help your business. Let's take a look at three key benefits:
Reduces raw materials waste. By creating the exact layout for each panel's installation, solar software helps business gauge the amount of raw materials required for electrical fittings to avoid waste.
Aids proposal and sales management. For customers who aren't sure how much they'll save by using solar power, solar software helps business generate proposals to highlight overall ROI post-installation.
Estimates total energy consumption for prospective systems. Once a PV layout is created, solar software reporting dashboards can estimate overall annual energy savings and assess the cost benefits of solar panel installation.
Key considerations when purchasing solar software
Your final step when purchasing solar software is evaluating these key areas to ensure your business makes the ideal purchase:
Integration with third-party software. Are you already using imaging software such as AutoCAD to design solar panel layouts in 2D and 3D? Ensure that the solar software you purchase integrates with this and any other design software you use.
Customer support. Does the solar software vendor offer 24/7 customer support? Are there any training modules or FAQs that can help you troubleshoot encountered issues? Make sure the vendor offers any and all support your business needs before purchasing.
Mobile application. Determine whether the solar software vendor you're considering offers a mobile app so employees can use the solution while working off-site.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.