Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice helps energy construction contractors choose the right solar software to design the layout of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

Showing 1-20 of 66 products

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 managers... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 102 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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UDA ConstructionOnline

UDA Technologies’ ConstructionOnline offers a web-based, integrated approach to project management, project scheduling, and customer management. Designed for emerging construction businesses in the homebuilding and remodeling industries,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 33 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Spectrum (formerly Dexter + Cheney)

Spectrum Construction Software is a cloud-based construction ERP solution for small, midsize and large enterprises. Primary features include accounting, document management, job cost, project management, equipment management, human... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Sage 100 Contractor (formerly Sage Master Builder)

Sage 100 Contractor, formerly known as Sage Master Builder, focuses on small to midsize construction companies, whether they are a general contractor, service or specialty contractor or a home builder. Suitable for companies that... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Accubid Electrical Estimating

For electrical, industrial mechanical, and ICT contractors who need a flexible estimating tool to quickly and accurately create estimates, Trimble’s Accubid Estimating is a full-featured estimating solution. Available in multiple... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Sage Estimating (formerly Sage Timberline Estimating)

Sage Estimating is an on-premise based construction estimating software designed specifically to serve contractors and sub-contractors in construction and real estate industries of all sizes. The solution provides interactive tools... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Jonas Enterprise

Jonas Enterprise is an intuitive, integrated solution for contractors that has been present in construction and service management for over 25 years. The application offers service, accounting, and operations project management capabilities... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Acumatica ERP

Acumatica ERP delivers a cloud and mobile technology platform designed for mid-sized customers with a complete, real time view across the business anytime, anywhere and on any device with a browser. From on-line accounting to full... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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CMiC

For 40+ years, CMiC has delivered enterprise software to general, specialty and heavy/highway contractors as well as project owners. The CMiC platform can be deployed as a multi-tenant SaaS solution, as a private Cloud (PaaS) or on-premise.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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McCormick Estimating Software

McCormick Plumbing & Mechanical Estimating software was developed specifically to handle the needs of construction firms that operate in the plumbing and mechanical piping trades. The software’s strength lies in the estimating, takeoff,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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JobNimbus

JobNimbus is a cloud-based integrated CRM and project management solution suitable for small and midsize businesses. The solution allows companies to manage their contacts, tasks and projects along with detailed reporting capabilities. With... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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B2W Estimate - Estimating & Bidding

B2W Estimate from B2W Software (formerly BID2Win) is an application for heavy civil construction estimating and bidding. The system offers the ability to create and pre-populate detailed databases with costs, including default templates... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Explorer Eclipse

Eclipse by Explorer is a cloud-based construction accounting and project management solution designed for contractor businesses. It caters to medium to large construction companies belonging to different construction businesses, such... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Plexxis Mosaic

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 accounting,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Infinity

Infinity is a cloud-based construction management solution that helps small to large enterprises manage HR operations, field layouts and building information modeling (BIM) services. Users can configure role-based access across projects... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly Sage Timberline Office)

Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, formerly Sage Timberline Office, is part of Sage’s line of construction and real estate solutions. Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate is a construction management system that offers functionality... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Fieldwire

Fieldwire is a cloud-based construction management solution that allows foremen and engineers in businesses to collaborate with the mobile workforce and share files, blueprints and RFI’s with them. It can be synced to existing cloud... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Oracle Primavera P6

Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management is a cloud-based project and portfolio management solution for prioritizing, planning, managing and evaluating projects, programs and portfolios. This system can only be deployed... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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e-Builder

e-Builder is a cloud-based construction program management solution for capital projects that provides performance data across the project lifecycle. Facility owners can track business processes with centralized project information,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Oracle Aconex

Oracle Aconex is a cloud-based operation management solution for managing information and processes between companies on complex construction and engineering projects. Several functions include document management, workflow automation,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Buyers guide

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.