Green energy is the new black, and that’s good news for your solar small business. While your employees are out installing solar panels in the field, though, they need the right tools to get it done right. We aren’t talking screwdrivers and drills. We’re talking apps. Thanks to the rise in solar energy interest, there are plenty of apps available for your employees to take advantage of and make their job of installing new energy-efficient power sources easier and quicker. All they need is an iPhone.
So, what are they? Here are six of the best options to choose from.
Available on the iTunes store, this app uses the iPhone camera to produce an augmented reality of the natural path the sun takes for a specific location. While specialists are installing solar panels, this app lets them quickly assess how the time of day and certain obstructions might shade the panel and limit the amount of solar energy it provides.
Works With: iPhone 3GS, 4S, 4 and 5
This app is one of the most versatile and valuable applications on the market today for solar panel installers who work with solar PV systems. The app makes it easy for your employees to see if they have met the important technical requirements for installing specific systems, have the right documentation on hand for customers and provide clients with the right information. While made for Australian solar installers, many of the features are handy for American workers as well. Some of the features of this app include:
• Generates email reports and PDFs of the install
• Captures pictures of the installed solar panel system
• Lets you have up to three inverters on a system configuration
• Provides employees with safety requirements
Works With: iOS 6.0 or later, iPad and iPod touch
Solar Tracker is an app designed to help your employees align solar panels during installation to get the best sun exposure. This results in more power output from the panel and more satisfied customers. To use the app, set the iPhone or iPad on the solar panel and choose the Alignment Assistant option. You can then switch between tilt, automatic and heading modes. The app shows you the sun’s position, your location, the times the sun will set and rise and the time remaining before the next sun rise or sun set.
The app also includes features that help you set the solar panel’s position or certain times of year, like:
• Biannual- This mode lets you know when and where to adjust the solar panel when positioning it for summer and winter months.
• Annual- This mode tells you the best position for the solar panel for the most sun exposure all year.
• Dates- This mode provides you with the optimum position for the solar panel for a specific date range.
While the app does require your location to work, it does not need an internet connection in order to provide you with information on solar panel adjustments.
Works With: iPhone or iPad using iOS 7.0 or later
This is an online platform solar solution with a compatible mobile app designed to help professional improve their solar installations and solar sales. It does this by:
• Improving the performance of solar installers in the field thanks to its built-in measuring tools
• Using three different design methods to provide improved visualizations of the solar installation equipment for clients
• Using cloud technology to improve communication and cooperation between you and your employees
• Providing detailed proposals that are customized with your company logo and specific colors
• Helping you prepare presentations and proposals for potential clients based on past installation information and pictures
A traditional inclinometer costs about $20 and takes up room in your employees’ tool belts and tool chests. So, why not just use their iPhone? The U-Clinometer from Unirac using the iPhone’s tilt feature to measure the tilt and angle of a rooftop. This helps installers determine which latitudes will have the best sun exposure for the panel.
Works With: iOS
Also from Unirac is an app that lets you get all the information you need about Unirac products. If you use these product in your business, this type of app can be extremely helpful. All you need to do is point your iPhone’s camera at the barcode on a product to start the process. Once this is complete, you’ll be given immediate access to blueprints, sales information and installation guidelines for the specific product you’re looking at.
Works With: iOS, iPhone
Benefits of Using Solar Apps
While there are many products available today that give you the same information you can get from a solar app on your iPhone, there are several good reasons to make the switch and embrace this new technology.
• Requires Fewer Tools- Using an iPhone app for some of the installation process means your solar installers don’t have to lug around as many tools. This can help save you money and increase productivity.
• Makes Installations Quicker- It only takes a few seconds for your installer to calculate the best location for a panel. This also means fewer returns to the same job site for adjustments.
• As a Sales Technique- Many of the apps actually store information and photos from previous jobs right on your cell phone. This makes it easy to answer fly-by questions from potential clients who want to know how long installs take, if they’re worth it and what they look like. The information stored on your phone lets you provide them with a clear and visual presentation at the drop of a hat.
• Increased Customer Satisfaction- Making your customers happy is your number one goal, and these apps let you do it. The better their panels are positioned, the more green energy they have and the happier they will be. Certain apps, like the Solar Tracker, even let them decide when they want their solar energy, giving them more of a say in their energy savings.
Want to increase productivity and make your employees’ jobs easier? Take advantage of the many apps for installers available now.