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Satellite imagery aids sales of solar devices

Canada: For the first time, a solar company is reported to have started using satellite imagery and mapping software to sell solar devices. According to Mercury News report, Sungevity, an Oakland based company has put forth this initiative. Company’s web-based process, which provides aerial photographs of houses outfitted with solar panels and a firm price quote within 24 hours, is designed to make going solar fast and easy, as well as more affordable.

Employees of the company custom design solar systems using satellite imagery and mapping software instead of time consuming and costly home visits. Solar power currently provides less than one percent of the energy in the United States, and the time and cost associated with giving consumers estimates is one barrier to more widespread adoption. By streamlining the process, Sungevity said that it saves money on such overhead as trucks and liability insurance then passes those savings on to customers.

Using image feeds from Microsoft Virtual Earth and Bing Maps, employees create three-dimensional satellite photographs of houses that allow them to measure the length, width, pitch (slope) and azimuth (directional orientation) of a roof. Most solar companies send crews out to rooftops to take those measurements but Sungevity does it remotely in about 20 minutes.

Once a solar system is sized and designed for a house, a customised i-Quote that includes details on electricity savings and what kinds of technology can be used in the solar system arrives via e-mail within 24 hours. Customers then choose a financing option: buying the system upfront or a no-money-down monthly lease for 10 years.

Source: Mercury News