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How FSM Software Can Help Lower Soft Costs for Solar Businesses

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When it comes to solar, you have one thing on your mind: installing systems as quickly and efficiently as possible while still delivering the highest quality. You just want to succeed in any way you can. Field service management software is the perfect solution; you have all the tools you need for success!

Solar is a promising industry that has great potential to save millions of tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. But for it to thrive, the costs of solar projects need to come down. That’s why companies like Zuper have developed service management technology that can significantly reduce soft costs and make solar energy more profitable for businesses in the long run.

What Are Soft Costs in the Solar Industry

Solar energy is a growing industry with high potential, but it’s also expensive to enter. Many soft costs for solar businesses can add up quickly, including permitting, design and installation, administration, and inspection.

Soft costs include permitting and inspection fees to legal and accounting fees. They also include supply chain and transaction fees, which vary greatly depending on how you purchase your solar panels. For example, if you buy 100% of your panels from one supplier, you won’t have any transaction fees associated with buying those panels. However, additional transaction fees will be associated with each purchase if you buy panels from multiple suppliers — even if it’s just one panel at a time.

 

Soft costs for solar businesses are often high because they are time-consuming and tedious to complete. For example, if a company has 100 projects, it can take over 500 hours to complete all the paperwork alone! It gets even more complex when you add in all the stakeholders involved in each project — such as engineers, inspectors, installers, and electricians.

System Design and Installation

When installing a solar system, many different pieces must work together seamlessly to operate properly and generate energy for your home or business. The system design includes everything from finding where your roof should house the panels to determining what type of inverter is needed for each type of panel and how much power they generate at full efficiency under specific conditions such as temperature or sun intensity.

Administration

The administrative side involves working with an installer or one of our service partners to get all the necessary permits before installing your system. This includes getting zoning approval from your local municipality or county government office. It can also include getting approval from homeowner associations or condo boards if you live with a community. These approvals are required before any work can begin on installing your photovoltaic (PV) system because they help ensure safety for everyone involved in installing your system — including yourself!

Permitting

A permit is required for most installations, but requirements vary by state and local municipality. Some states require permits for all installations; others require them only if there are zoning issues or if customers want to take advantage of federal tax credits or other incentives from their utility company. These rules can frequently change, so you must stay updated on them as a business owner or installer who wants to keep up with the latest trends in your industry.

Inspection

The inspection process for residential solar installations is lengthy and complex. Solar companies must hire licensed electricians to conduct site surveys and inspections, which can take hours or days, depending on the project size. Additionally, they must pay fees for licensing and bonding, which can also add up quickly.

Supply Chain and Transaction Fees

Solar companies often have to pay transaction fees when dealing with lenders and banks that finance their customers’ energy bills after installation. These fees vary by lender but can include application, origination, underwriting, appraisal, settlement, annual membership, and more. They also have to pay transaction fees when purchasing equipment from certain manufacturers, who may charge their own transaction fees.

How Can FSM Software Help?

Zuper’s FSM software is a solution that allows solar companies to automate their processes, streamline their workflow, and take advantage of real-time communication with their customers.

Workflow Creation

Solar is a complex process with many moving parts. Many steps must be completed, from the project’s design to installation, to ensure everything goes smoothly. If a part of this process breaks down or is delayed, it could affect other areas of your business and cause delays in completing projects. With FSM software, you can create a customized workflow for your business needs and track everything from start to finish. This will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and helps keep costs low for you and your clients.

Real-Time Communication Between All Stakeholders

Communication is key when it comes to any business — especially one that deals with multiple parties from different locations. Solar businesses often have contractors who work onsite at customers’ homes or commercial buildings and employees who work remotely from an office elsewhere. With FSM software, you can stay connected with everyone involved in each project no matter where they are located or what device they use — whether it’s their phone, tablet, computer, laptop, or desktop.

Data-Driven Decision-Making Using Analytics & Reporting

The first step to lowering soft costs is understanding them. FSM software provides data-driven insights that help you understand where your business is spending money, where it’s losing money, and why. This information will allow you to make decisions that increase your project profitability.

Digitizing Paperwork, Processes, and Data

Paperwork often plays a significant role in the cost of projects by adding steps in the process or creating delays that lead to extra labor costs. FSM software allows you to digitize paperwork to be completed electronically instead of on paper. This reduces labor costs by eliminating manual work and speeding up processes for contractors and customers. Zuper’s field service management solution can also help by providing automated templates for common documents needed throughout the project lifecycle, such as bids, proposals, contracts, and other documents related to FITs or other programs like Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs).

Zuper’s FSM Software Solution for Solar Businesses

Ultimately, it seems that FSM software solutions are currently the biggest topic in the solar world. They offer tremendous value to businesses while diversifying the solar industry workforce. Whether or not they’re right for your business will depend on your needs and priorities. Still, many companies can leverage them effectively to improve their businesses (and balance sheets). 

Zuper’s solar business software & FSM platform helps reduce soft costs by streamlining the entire process from start to finish. Their solution can be customized to fit your business needs, so they have you covered whether you’re looking for a stand-alone project management solution or an integrated workflow solution for your entire organization!

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