Project Solar doesn’t make solar panels, nor does it make use of crews to plop them on roofs, however the startup argues it will probably shake up the residential solar enterprise by steering away from gross sales reps and automating elements of the ordering, design and set up course of.
Backed by $23 million in recent collection A funding led by Left Lane Capital, Project Solar says it’s on monitor to put in 30 megawatts of solar this 12 months, principally in California and Texas, whereas apparently undercutting a few of its opponents on value. The startup goals to prime its 2022 set up determine by an element of 5 in 2023.
But first, some context: Tesla bailed on door knocking ages in the past, solely to see its marketshare stoop. Sunrun, in the meantime, has greater than 100 gross sales jobs listed on its web site and is the highest residential solar model by marketshare. So why would reducing out salespeople work for Project Solar, which is presently nowhere close to as energetic because the trade chief?
For householders, the promote principally comes down to cost. The startup says it prices $2.20 per watt on common for installations, and as little as $1.63 after federal incentives. That’s about 25% cheaper than the 2021 nationwide common of $2.94 per watt (earlier than tax credit), in accordance with the Solar Energy Industries Association. Whether it qualifies as “dramatically lower,” because the startup characterizes it, is extra a matter of opinion. For of us who’re particularly helpful, Project Solar additionally gives cheaper DIY choices.
Project Solar’s income comes from marking up tools costs, for which is will get quantity reductions. The firm says reducing out salespeople saves it as a lot as a buck per watt, and from there it leans on its in-house software program to trim the time wanted for issues like system design, allowing and coordinating contractors. For every sale, “there are about 40-man hours of labor concerned within the backend course of (not together with the bodily labor of set up which often takes a crew of 3-4 folks 8 hours),” CEO Trevor Hiltbrand instructed TechCrunch. He added that the agency’s software program contains “a device that has decreased engineering/CAD time from 3 hours to half-hour.”
Project Solar plans to make use of the collection A to develop within the Midwest and South, and to proceed engaged on its software program. Beyond Left Lane Capital, Project Solar declined to share who chipped in on the funding spherical, calling them “strategics inside the trade.”