Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Solar Startup Could Make At-Home Renewable Energy Purchases Easily

An online marketplace will let U.S. homeowners to evaluate selections for going solar as easily as they can compare prices for airline tickets for the first time this December.

Geostellar is a startup backed by power producer NRG Energy Inc. It is in quest of becoming the Expedia or Orbitz of the solar industry. The said solar industry is a one-stop shop where consumers can not compare the benefits of leasing solar panels versus buying them outright alone but eventually sign up to install a system.

On the site,, Solar players together with NRG, No. 1 U.S. installer SolarCity Corp, Boston-based solar loan provider Admirals Bank, manufacturer and financier Conergy, East Coast installer Roof Diagnostics and Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority will feature their products.

Geostellar looks forward to its platform will let installers and financiers to lower the price of getting hold of new customers. It is a main objective in the ferociously competitive rooftop solar industry. Solar companies are centered on cutting prices therefore they will be able deliver on their promise to save customers money on power bills by converting to solar.

Geostellar will make money by claiming a portion of a system’s total installed price – between 10 and 20 percent, Chief Executive David Levine said.

According to Levine, Geostellar, which was founded in 2010, got its start by selling data to solar companies that showed the solar energy potential of individual rooftops. Its early customers included solar financing companies SunRun, Sungevity and others.

It increased to $14 million from NRG, Flash Forward Ventures, satellite imagery company GeoEye (now owned by DigitalGlobe Inc), and the state of Maryland’s venture capital fund, in May 2012
Levine had tried to convince his customers to use Washington-based Geostellar’s data to build a website where consumers can comparison shop for solar. He resolved to use those funds to build it himself.
“We went back to those customers and said instead of us giving you data and you doing the marketing, we want to be your customer acquisition engine,” Levine said in an interview.

To build 3D representations of neighborhoods and their rooftops, Geostellar makes use of satellite data. It is a simulation that moves the sun across the sky then facilitates the company calculates how much sun a rooftop gets at any specific time of the year. A key factor of this occurrence is in determining whether going solar makes financial sense. The website then layers on the value of government incentives in addition to local utility rates to provide customers a full view of what it would charge them to sign up for a solar installation.

Visitors to Geostellar’s website or its mobile app called Solar Mojo can then compare and contrast the costs and benefits of a solar lease, a lending plan or a cash purchase, depending on the market. Lastly, they can sign up for what they want with the click of a button.

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