PV*SOL / Valentin Software, Solar.Pro.Tool, Polysun, Aurora Solar & Co .
– Find the right provider

Solar Calculator and PV planning tools in a competitive comparison

Thanks to solar calculators and PV planning tools, new customers are acquired, customer consulting is facilitated, and the effort required to prepare an offer is reduced. There are various providers, which makes the selection difficult. We at Eturnity also offer suitable products with our Solar Calculator and Solar Expert. In the following, we do not want to make a comparison with the competition, but rather, give you some input on how to find the right offer for you.

1. What do you need?

Are you just looking for a solar calculator? Or do you need a better planning tool? Or do you need a complete solution that supports you from marketing, consulting and quoting, to project planning?

Which individual functions are important to you?

Create a list of functions (e.g. compiled from different solutions, what you already use and what your employees want) and divide them into “must have”, “would be important” and “would be nice.” Even a “can’t do” helps. Consult your customer advisors: they are more likely to know what is really necessary and what could be important. Also talk to the marketing department, because a good solar calculator in particular is worth its weight in gold when it comes to marketing.

Experience shows that free or very inexpensive tools rarely meet your needs: fixed data, prices and products, inaccurate satellite material, complicated operation, no branding, not customer-friendly, etc.

So, think about which compromises you really want to make!

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2. Compare & test

Once you have found suitable candidates based on the list of functions, you should definitely take the time for extensive testing.

This is especially important for planning tools, which can be time-consuming to set up. After all, if you have made the wrong decision in retrospect, there is a greater chance that you will stay, even if the product does not actually fit your needs.

Our explanations below will help you ask the right questions.

3. important decision criteria for solar calculator, PV planning tool and CRM

To our knowledge, there is no other provider besides Eturnity that offers a Solar Calculator, quote tool, project planning, and customer management all linked together. You would have to choose individual components from different providers and ensure the perfect interaction yourself. By the way, this was one of the reasons why Eturnity AG developed its comprehensive, and at the same time, flexible offers.

Back to the decision criteria:

Criteria solar calculator

As a component of your website, the solar calculator contributes to a better SEO, but above all, offers interested parties the possibility to inform themselves about the possible PV project at any time.

The solar calculator should be mobile, e.g. for use on a tablet, as a support for your customer advisors at trade fairs or for personal advice on site.

If the person who fills in the form leaves their e-mail address, e.g. to receive the result as a PDF, this is a lead for you that you can follow up on.

What do you want the calculator to be able to do? Here are a few ideas:

  • Can your data, prices, or products be stored?
  • Which map material will be used? Only satellite images? Or even Swisstopo (like Eturnity), which offers better images, calculates the solar potential, and already pre-fills roof mass, pitch, and orientation so that certain information does not have to be entered at all.
  • What is taken into account, e.g. modules from different manufacturers, storage solutions/solar batteries, self-consumption, heating and domestic water, the local electricity tariff, service life, etc.?
  • Are different products/scenarios compared, e.g. different solar modules or storage solutions?
  • Are inputs on heating/utilization options also provided?
  • How easy is it to integrate on the website?
  • Can you integrate your colors and logo? Does the name or even the logo of the provider appear very present?
  • Very important: do you receive the contact details of the person filling in the form, e.g. if he/she wants the result sent to him/her as a PDF?
  • Can you connect the solar calculator to “downstream” systems, e.g. a customer management tool or your PV planning tool? The transfer of this data saves a lot of time! The Eturnity Solar Calculator can be connected to other systems via interfaces, for example.

With many solar calculators you can only have a small influence or store your own values. This does not have to be bad, but keep in mind that interested parties might feel deceived if the result of the solar calculator differs too much from your official offer.

The solar calculator should be simple and require as little information as possible. This makes it more likely that the calculator will be played through to the end and will be remembered positively.

An understandable and attractive presentation is also important for the result. If the prospective customer can also receive it as a PDF, for example, they have important documents from YOUR company with them and you receive their email address and can process the lead further.

It is best if you or a customer consultant, but also a layman, test the solar calculator.

What information is output? E.G.:

  • Information on yield, costs and amortization
  • Self-consumption, info about storage system, feed-in
  • Info or even comparisons of modules, storage solutions, etc.
  • How is it presented?

How clear and intuitive is the result?

  • Are there confusing tables or even full text, or understandable diagrams and illustrations?
  • Can the prospect get it as a PDF or download it? Does it contain your company details?
  • Does this result in a lead for you, e.g. by the prospect providing their e-mail address?

Criteria PV planning tool

Additional functions can facilitate lead processing, but especially quoting and project planning. Be sure to take a look at your existing processes and tools that are currently in use and consider where there is room for improvement. Some examples:

  • Customer contacts are made, but then not followed up on properly.
  • The preparation of offers is usually immensely time-consuming
  • Due to their complexity, offers are often simply unaesthetic, unclear and difficult to understand.
  • It is difficult to offer the customer different scenarios, e.g. comparison of different battery systems, different system sizes, optimal self-consumption, etc.
  • Project planning is tedious and may not even meet your current requirements. The comparison of the individual customer project to your products is time-consuming.

Maybe you see potential in individual points, or maybe you have already found the perfect tools. Ideally, a solar calculator and supplementary product (e.g. the Eturnity Solar Expert) can be flexibly connected and used according to your needs.

What options are there with regard to customer management? For example, can you store correspondence, plan the project, etc.? What possibilities are there to connect the other tools used internally to the CRM you are using?

Offer tools make it possible to create faster and better offers. The following is possible with the solar expert, for example:

  • Data from the solar calculator is transferred to the expert. On the one hand, this minimizes your effort, since no data has to be transferred, and on the other hand, it enables your employees to create a comprehensive offer with different scenarios in about 15 minutes. Project planning and quotation preparation are interrelated.
  • You have directly created a suitable customer, with information about the customer, the project, the planning etc.
  • You store your used products, purchase prices and margins in the component library, which you have access to for every project
  • Calculated are e.g. potential estimation, load profile, storage solutions, self-consumption etc.
  • Local specifics, such as the respective power supplier, are taken into account
  • Clear offer, understandable and in your design (logo, color…) and recommendations/comparison for certain products.

Again, go through everything with someone from your customer service team and ask a layperson about the presentation of the offer.

On the page of the Solar Expert you will find a demo video of how easy the offer creation can be as well as an exemplary before/after comparison of an offer.

The PV planning tool is important for the preparation of the offers, accordingly the already described points of a meaningful offer should be considered. In addition, the tool is also helpful for the detailed planning of the project.

The Eturnity Solar Expert can for example:

  • Visualize, dimension and generally plan the solar system and is user-friendly at the same time
  • All information about load profiles, potential estimation, costs etc. are taken into account
  • Selection of different satellite maps from various providers, including Swisstopo
  • Revert to your individual component library
  • Fall back on your predefined load profiles, but it also allows individual load profiles, depending on the project

Especially here it is important that the planning tool fits to your offer. Let us show you exactly what your possibilities are and also test your staff.

Conditions of the provider

Often, cost is one of the most difficult items to compare, as the scope of services varies and prices compound differently. For example, there may be:

  •  setup fee
  • a basic fee to which additional costs are added for each use of the computer
  • only one annual license fee
  • also the support can be charged, ask for conditions (are already simple questions charged or only more complex things, which hourly rate is charged?)
    etc.

Think about it:

  • What do you expect – How often will the computer be used?
  • What are the costs of the current or alternative tools? Also consider switching costs
  • Which tool saves you the most time and thus costs? The user-friendliness and how well your processes are reflected are important here.
  • Can you only “book” individual functions or do you have to take the complete package and to what extent does it fit with your existing solutions?

Don’t take the supposedly cheapest provider right away, but decide only after an intensive comparison and be sure to use the demo versions that many providers offer. A solution that suits you and really saves you time and nerves is usually worth much more than the few francs that the other variant may be cheaper.

Check for example:

  • Term/When can you cancel and how (e.g. 3 months before renewal, anytime)?
  • What happens if you want to cancel during the term, e.g. annual licenses?
  • What happens to the customer data? Do you keep the copy, can it be transferred to another system, and how much time is left for this?
  • Will the data then also be deleted at the provider?
  • How do you pay – One time? Monthly? Are there different models that allow a discount (e.g. discount for immediate payment)?

Also pay attention to whether a so-called lock-in effect can occur. This means that a change is associated with great effort, so that you stay with the tool, although it does not fit at all. This can happen, for example, if you cannot take your customer data with you or if you have to completely change your processes to the new solution.

A tiresome, but unfortunately, a very important topic!

  • Where does the provider come from – Switzerland, Austria, America, or even China? Depending on this, the data protection guidelines of Switzerland are not fulfilled. With customers from abroad, you may also have to meet the guidelines of their countries!
  • Where is the data (e.g. customer data) stored – With you, with the provider? And if so, where is the provider and is this compatible with the applicable data protection rules?
  • Can the provider tap the data without permission, or at worst use it for their own purposes?
  • To what extent do you have to adapt your privacy policy?
  • Who takes care of backups? Do you have to (and possibly can!) do this?
  • How complete can customer data be deleted, e.g. in the case of a deletion order?
  • Does the support cost extra or is it included?
  • How can you reach the support, do you have your own contact person?
  • How quickly does the support respond?
  • Is there online help, e.g. in the form of FAQs, is there information on the blog, are there tips?

Other decision points

  • Where is the provider located? Are there personal contacts in your region? You may prefer a national contact over an international one
  • How long has the provider been around?
  • For foreign solutions: Does it fit your country, e.g., currency adjustments, appropriate maps, local electricity rates, etc.?

How well are the product and provider received?

  • Take a look at customer opinions and, if applicable, reference projects on the provider’s website. Which customers does he already serve?
  • Are there test reports on other websites or trade magazines?
  • Are there any other reports about the provider?
  • Look for other opinions, e.g., in forums or Google reviews

Software like this needs to be further developed and maintained – so ask:

  • How quickly are bugs fixed and applied to your updates? Does this happen automatically or do you have to do updates yourself?
  • Is the product being further developed and what else is planned? Does this affect the price, i.e. are there regular price increases when new functions are added?
  • To what extent is customer input for additional functions taken into account, perhaps even implemented individually?

Presumably, you offer not only solar systems, but also services for heating or electromobility, for example. A few providers integrate these services into their offer. At Eturnity, for example, there is the Heating Calculator and Expert, which are compatible with the Solar Expert.

The most important providers of solar calculators and PV planning tools

The following is a list of providers that already exist on the market. We have tried to be as neutral as possible and roughly describe the performance and give a few hints. Most of the providers have focused on planning tools and, if necessary, on quotation and CRM.

PV*SOL from Valentin Software

PV planning software, as basic or premium, with the possibility to store specific values. Check to what extent it supports you in customer consulting and quoting and whether the tool can be connected to your own systems (e.g. CRM). The provider is from Germany.

To the PV*SOL website

Solar.Pro.Tool

Software that primarily supports the planning of your customer project. Also, check here to what extent the tool supports you in making offers and the connection to your systems. The provider comes from Austria.

To the website of Solar.Pro.Tool

AURORA Solar

Focus: mainly the planning of solar systems, but they also offer a quotation tool – check here how well your offer is mapped and how understandable everything is for the end customer. E-mobility can also be considered. It is a provider from the USA, but data is probably stored in Europe, support is available in German, French, and English.

To the website of AURORA Solar

POLYSUN

Enables comprehensive planning of energy systems of buildings and even whole quarters. Offer function is only rudimentary, also, the connection to your systems needs to be checked. Provider from Switzerland.

To the website of POLYSUN

Manufacturer tools Solarapp / Solaredge / Fronius / K2

Manufacturer tools, e.g. from K2, Solaredge, Solarapp (Megasol) offer functions for lead generation and PV planning tools with individual cost calculation – but they serve to distribute the supplier’s hardware. However, this means that the installer loses their independence. They are also more technically oriented and less customer friendly, limited customization to your own CI/CD. Also, check if it is compatible with your ERP systems.

IBC Solar Power Calculator & PV Manager

Offers both, but you should check to what extent it reflects your own products and prices. Apparently it is only conditionally adaptable to your CI/CD. Provider from Germany.

To the website of the IBC Manager Tool

SolarLogics

Ostensibly offers a quoting tool and CRM and invoicing functions. Also, check the planning tool, currently there is no component library and various parameters have to be entered manually each time. Apparently, only conditionally adaptable to your CI/CD. Provider from the USA.

To the SolarLogics website

SunbaseData

Somewhat more comprehensive offering with quote tool, project management and CRM. But be sure to check how well it maps your processes. Provider from the USA.

To the website of SunbaseData

Last but not least: Eturnity’s Solar Calculator and Expert

What makes Eturnity solutions unique is that we offer a complete, seamless, and optimized process chain – From the Solar Calculator (as a lead acquisition and consulting tool), to the quick creation of understandable offers, the simple planning of PV systems, as well as a CRM.

You can put together what you need and what you don’t need: the products are modular and very easy to connect to other systems. They are also compatible with our heating tools. This enables a combination of different technologies, such as: ZEV, district heating, and e-mobility.

With all of the points mentioned so far, based on our customer feedback, our products offer the following criteria that played a big role in our decision:

1. High usability:

  • At a company level
  • At a customer level

2. Greatest possible individualization through:

  • Adaptation to your CI/CD
  • Storing your own products, data, costs, etc.

If you are interested in more information and details, please visit our Solar Calculator and Expert pages.

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Facts & Figures

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Customers all over Europe
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Market leader in Switzerland

What our customers say

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Eturnity’s software made it much easier for me, as a newcomer to photovoltaics, to get started in the industry. I was ready to work from the first day and could immediately take care of the customers.

Patrik Hauser, Hauser Solutions GmbH
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By May 2020, we have already achieved about 80% of the total turnover from the previous year. We have also saved a lot of time, which we can now invest differently. Customer feedback is also positive, the Eturnity solution is professional, but easy.

Dennis Nilsson, MEASOL AB, Sweden
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From now on, it will take less than three minutes to obtain a simple, global-based cost estimate: cost price, yield, production, CO2 savings, etc. Based on these elements, a very precise quotation will then be drawn up

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From now on, it will take less than three minutes to obtain a simple, global-based cost estimate: cost price, yield, production, CO2 savings, etc. Based on these elements, a very precise quotation will then be drawn up.

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Eturnity AG’s products are simple and targeted, and the company provides well-coordinated support.

Some of our customers

Your personal advisor

We will be happy to answer your questions, just get in touch with one of our customer consultants.

Roger Sutter
Roger SutterManager Customer Consultant
Quentin Thepot
Quentin ThepotCustomer consultant Switzerland
Severin Müller
Severin MüllerCustomer consultant Northeast Switzerland
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“It all started with the Solar Calculator and Expert. At the moment, we offer a full-service tool and constantly develop new functionalities or solutions when there is a need!”

MATTHIAS WIGET, CEO