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Knowify

Knowify helps contractors Budget, manage, and invoice every construction project and service job with precision, and get insights to grow their business along the way. All work happens in one intuitive platform that integrates sea...Read more about Knowify

4.5 (90 reviews)

97 recommendations

B2W Schedule

B2W Schedule software for heavy civil construction scheduling and dispatching is a centralized, online solution for managing employees, crews, equipment, materials, and trucking across job locations and over time. Employees throug...Read more about B2W Schedule

4.3 (9 reviews)

5 recommendations

JobNimbus

JobNimbus is a CRM and project management software wrapped up in one application. The platform is an end-to-end solution designed to help contractors (roofing and construction professionals) streamline their communication and bett...Read more about JobNimbus

4.6 (476 reviews)

2 recommendations

plexxis

Plexxis offers comprehensive solutions created specifically for the most demanding specialty sub-contractors. With on premise, subscription, cloud-based and mobile options, Plexxis delivers office and field efficiencies for accoun...Read more about plexxis

4.4 (79 reviews)

2 recommendations

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B2W Track

B2W Track software for heavy civil construction field tracking and analysis enables contractors to manage projects and costs based on accurate, immediate information from the field on productivity, labor, materials, and equipment ...Read more about B2W Track

4.3 (42 reviews)

2 recommendations

IFS Cloud

IFS Cloud is a composable enterprise software application that orchestrates customers, people, and assets to reduce complexity, cost and risk as you plan, manage and optimize critical asset availability, strive for operational exc...Read more about IFS Cloud

3.9 (30 reviews)

1 recommendations

Procore

Procore manages your projects, resources, and financials from project planning to closeout. The platform connects every project contributor with the owner and general or specialty contractor. The centralized dashboard allows manag...Read more about Procore

Onshape

Onshape is a CAD system that enhances the productivity of designers. It allows multiple designers to access and work on the same design simultaneously via cloud services with any phone, tablet, or computer. It prevents data loss,...Read more about Onshape

Jonas Construction Software

Jonas Construction Software offers an intuitive, integrated solution for contractors that has been present in construction and service management for over 30 years. The application offers service, accounting, and operations projec...Read more about Jonas Construction Software

Dataforma

Dataforma Roofing Software was originally designed for roofing contractors, but it is now utilized by other construction trades, including electrical, plumbing and HVAC. It is a web-based business management system that helps cont...Read more about Dataforma

AccountEdge

AccountEdge is a powerful, easy-to-use, small-business accounting software for the Mac and Windows desktop. With AccountEdge, business owners can organize, process, and report on their financial information so they can focus on...Read more about AccountEdge

Successware

All-in-one software to manage dispatching, customer information, service agreements, accounting, sales leads, and more. Our industry-leading mobile field service solution, Successware Mobile, allows techs to fully run their jobs...Read more about Successware

Assignar

Assignar is a cloud-based construction management solution designed for self-performing general contractors and subcontractors. Key features include scheduling, asset management, timesheets, custom forms, compliance management, in...Read more about Assignar

Trimble Accubid Anywhere

Trimble® Accubid® Anywhere provides a comprehensive estimating and takeoff solution for electrical contractors in an easy-to-manage cloud subscription. Complete with advanced estimating, change management, graphical takeoff, integ...Read more about Trimble Accubid Anywhere

Bolt

Bolt is an integrated cloud-based solution for trade contractors in new home construction. The software helps users simplify project management, scheduling, and estimating. Bolt eliminates the need for paperwork and whiteboards, g...Read more about Bolt

Payzerware

Payzerware is a cloud-based field service management solution which assists contracting firms with technician scheduling and dispatch. Its key features include invoicing, call management, e-payments and reminders. The applica...Read more about Payzerware

EagleView

The EagleView App allows contractors to access property measurements using only their iPhone or iPad. It features offline access, which means you can work with your own data when customer Wi-Fi isn't available. It allows staff mem...Read more about EagleView

Bolster

Transform Your Construction Business with CostCertified! Our cloud-based software redefines cost estimating, offering interactive proposal designs that let customers tweak their choices in real time. Packed with features like line...Read more about Bolster

remberg

remberg is a cloud-based digital asset management platform that is used by small and medium-sized organizations that helps them manage assets or equipment in industries like manufacturing, energy, real estate, mobility, medical, a...Read more about remberg

Canibuild

Founded in 2020, canibuild was developed to address the many pain points in the construction industry. With canibuild, builders and their clients can now see what's possible on their parcel of land in just minutes, in a virtual, e...Read more about Canibuild

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

Designing the layout for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar panels is a complicated process that many energy construction contractors need to manage while overseeing material costs and customer requirements.

Not only do contractors need to calculate the exact cost of raw materials required to install the solar panels, inverters, or power optimizers, they often also need to provide detailed return on investment (ROI) reports calculating annual energy savings for both commercial and residential customers.

All these administrative tasks can result in contractors having less time to spend on designing solar panel layouts. Enter solar design tools, which reduce administrative clutter by automating the design process and manage costs and customer requirements in a centralized dashboard.

In this buyers guide, we'll take a look at how solar design software helps automate key processes.

Here's what we'll cover:

What is Solar Software?

Common features of solar software

What type of buyer are you?

Benefits of solar software

Key considerations when purchasing solar software

What is Solar Software?

Solar software (aka solar design software) helps residential and commercial solar construction businesses plan and design layouts for installing PV panels on rooftops or other locations to optimize energy efficiency. These systems also help business manage solar sales proposals by showing customers PV panel design layouts, track material costs for PV system installations, manage energy storage, and generate energy usage reports and estimates.

HelioScope-solar-software

View of photovoltaic solar system design in HelioScope (Source)

Common features of solar software

Solar software often comes loaded with features, many of which may not be specific to your business needs.

When making your software purchase, focus on the core or common features offered by your shortlisted solutions to ensure you invest in the right tool. Here are the common features you should look for when evaluating solar software:

2D and 3D drawing

Create 2D and 3D drawings of area layouts for PV panel installation.

Animation

Create 3D animations of PV panel layouts to gain a holistic view of PV electrical fittings.

Electrical schematic design

Create blueprints of the electrical schematics required to connect PV panels to main electrical units.

Bill of materials

Create a list of every part or component that makes up a product, including product numbers and quantities.

Data import/export

Users can import/export images, files, and PDFs as needed.

Reporting dashboard

View information related to solar power consumption, financial analysis, and energy savings in a single dashboard.

What type of buyer are you?

Choosing the right solar software depends on the size and requirements of your solar industry business.

Here are three common types of solar software buyers and their unique considerations:

  • Small and midsize businesses. In this segment, buyers have a limited software budget, and their primary concern is often tool pricing. As small and midsize energy construction contractors typically offer solar energy solutions to residential units or smaller businesses, they can use cloud-based solar software instead of on-premise tools to stay within their budget.

  • Large enterprises. Businesses in this segment require software with advanced functionalities, and often have a larger budget to work with. Larger energy construction contractors cater to a wider audience, often installing solar panels on a bigger scale (e.g., warehouse rooftops, industrial buildings). Cloud-based solar software allows larger construction enterprises to choose from a suite of features such as 2D PV layout design, proposal generation, and sales management.

  • Best-of-breed buyers. This segment of buyers has mixed business requirements, similar to those listed above. Since they offer solar energy solutions to residences as well as bigger industrial units, these contractors often need solar software with a complete suite of features.

Benefits of solar software

No matter which of the above three buyer segments you belong in, solar software can help your business. Let's take a look at three key benefits:

  • Reduces raw materials waste. By creating the exact layout for each panel's installation, solar software helps business gauge the amount of raw materials required for electrical fittings to avoid waste.

  • Aids proposal and sales management. For customers who aren't sure how much they'll save by using solar power, solar software helps business generate proposals to highlight overall ROI post-installation.

  • Estimates total energy consumption for prospective systems. Once a PV layout is created, solar software reporting dashboards can estimate overall annual energy savings and assess the cost benefits of solar panel installation.

Key considerations when purchasing solar software

Your final step when purchasing solar software is evaluating these key areas to ensure your business makes the ideal purchase:

  • Integration with third-party software. Are you already using imaging software such as AutoCAD to design solar panel layouts in 2D and 3D? Ensure that the solar software you purchase integrates with this and any other design software you use.

  • Customer support. Does the solar software vendor offer 24/7 customer support? Are there any training modules or FAQs that can help you troubleshoot encountered issues? Make sure the vendor offers any and all support your business needs before purchasing.

  • Mobile application. Determine whether the solar software vendor you're considering offers a mobile app so employees can use the solution while working off-site.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.