Doesn’t it seem like PEPCO and Washington Gas are taking a bigger bite out of the family budget each month? The bills keep getting higher — leaving residents to wonder if there is a cheaper, greener solution. Ever consider solar energy for home or place of work?
Former Potomac resident Alex Landau has created a web-based solar design tool to simplify the process of “going solar.” His new start-up, QuickSolar, recently introduced a solar design tool which “empowers solar professionals globally to design and propose solar systems for their customers more quickly and with greater accuracy than ever before.”
Landau is the son of Mindy and David Landau of Potomac. He attended Beverly Farms Elementary, Hoover Middle and Churchill High School where he played baseball. After graduation from Churchill, he selected Tulane University for its architecture program. He became interested in solar energy and completed his master’s thesis on the topic. After graduation, he was hired at South Coast Solar — a turn-key solar installation firm in New Orleans.
“I quickly learned the pain points that contractors were experiencing: homeowners would call in looking for some quick answers to simple questions — how much will solar cost me? How much will I save? Is solar a smart investment for me?”
To answer their questions, he had to climb up on their roof or use hi-res satellite imagery to measure it, draw it out using AutoCAD, configure the solar panels, perform the energy and savings calculations and put it all together in a clean, customized proposal. He was doing this 7 – 8 times a day with a turnaround time of at least a week or more.
He says, “In 2010, I had a ‘eureka’ moment: what if solar design could be a simple as drag and drop?”
Landau and co-worker Scott Oman began working on a design in which the user drags and drops solar electric (PV) panels onto a satellite image of a customer’s home. Landau explains what the software can do: “QuickSolar instantaneously performs all of the necessary calculations to determine the system’s estimated solar energy production, monthly saving, total subsidies, net cost, break-even time and environmental impact, among other key metrics. Once the design is complete, the user can instantly generate a proposal with charts and graphs that make inherently complex data easy for him and his customer to understand. The user can send the proposal directly to his customer and save the design for future editing.”
He continued, “The software saves the solar contractor thousands of dollars in costs related to design, customer qualification, proposal generation and customer acquisition.”
“A potential customer can now see a visually accurate representation of solar panels on his rooftop along with an interactive proposal in just a few minutes,” said Oman. “It completely blows away any other design or sales platform that I’ve seen.”
The two entrepreneurs had a prototype built and entered the 2012 “Big Idea” Entrepreneur Crowd-Sourcing contest in New Orleans hosted by The Idea Village. The crowd of 1,400 and a panel of celebrity judges chose them for the $50,000 grand prize.
Since then, they have been working to gain patent approval and to launch Quicksolar; several weeks ago, their provisional patent was approved and their vision materialized into their new start-up company. They have already signed up 60 solar contractors.
Their product is a for all professionals with customers interested in PV solar panels, including solar installers and integrators, distributors, manufacturers, energy efficiency specialists, HVAC contractors, solar salespeople, builders, engineers, architects and electricians. The software will also be available soon to homeowners who would like a cost evaluation of switching to solar energy for their home or business. The monthly cost to subscribers runs from $39 - $70 per month for various levels of the design tool. To promote their launch, QuickSolar is offering a free one month subscription at the highest GigaPro level to the first 100 U.S.-based, state-certified solar installation companies that sign up.
Landau and Oman, chief marketing officer, are also seeking funding support to expand their products and grow their company.
For more information, go to www.quicksolar.com or contact Landau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 858-598-3955.