App/Services "Killer Ideas"

Free Solar Education for all U.S. homeowners

Half a million homeowners have gone solar in the US. Another 25 million homeowners can go solar and save money doing so, but they have had no education about going solar. SolarList wants to reach these homeowners. We offer free home solar assessment to homeowners across the US. Until now, every process of educating a homeowner has been done by a sales professional, but SolarList enables this process to happen on the web and on mobile phones scalably for zero marginal cost.

 

Solar companies spend a large portion of their sales and marketing budget to turn potential customers into educated potential customers who understand the basic economics of adding solar to their home. By offering this free education, SolarList will lower customer acquisition costs (a key DOE SunShot goal), enabling even more homeowners to go solar.

 

The US solar market is complex and reaching even a rough understanding of the economics of going solar can be a time-intensive (and thus costly) education process for a potential customer. By contrast, Germany with relatively uniform utility rates, a single national feed-in tariff, and even fairly homogenous insolation offers a much simpler education process for the homeowner. This streamlined education process and narrower dispersion of outcomes accounts for much of the gap between Germany’s much lower cost of customer acquisition and the higher figure in the US. The SolarList app will make the education process in the US much simpler and more effective.

 

Homeowners are more likely to listen to people they trust from their family, friends, and neighborhood networks as opposed to solar salespeople. That is why anyone can use our app and become a solar activist, or "Solarist", educating every homeowner they know about the benefits of going solar and getting paid in the process. This fall, we ran the very first Solar Bowl, an intercollegiate competition whereby students across a dozen US college campuses educating hundreds of homeowners about going solar.

 

Right now, our web and mobile app can produce accurate solar assessments in California and the Northeast. With the prize money from this data contest, we can build out our software so that accurate solar assessments can be produced in any state. We currently use a number of key DOE datasets, including the NREL PVWatts API and Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).

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Idea No. 48