CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On Feb. 13, EnergySage, a Cambridge-based online marketplace for solar photovoltaic and other clean energy technologies, released its latest product, which the company dubs as the Expedia.com for the solar industry.
The EnergySage Solar Marketplace platform is a comprehensive search engine that allows consumers to research and shop for solar PV systems for residential, commercial and nonprofit building projects. The shopper can solicit and receive multiple quotes from a pre-screened network of solar installation providers and compare prices between them. It consolidates the available purchase and financing options into a single online market that includes everything from zero-cost leasing to debt financing. The site also provides educational content, real-life case studies with pictures and financial details, and installer and product profiles with ratings and reviews.
EnergySage received funding for the platform through a U.S. Department of Energy Sunshot Award in June 2012 because it will reduce costs of solar sales and marketing efforts for both consumers and solar installers. The Department of Energy estimates that non-hardware costs, such as administrative needs, permitting and financing, make up half of the installed cost of a solar system, as reported by Greentech Media.
Finding the best solar power system can be difficult, so this process will make it less complex and time-consuming. The site is free to consumers, while providers are required to pay a small commission for any new business received via the site.
“Providers are spending an incredible amount of time and money in their efforts to acquire new customers. EnergySage drives these costs down by facilitating a more efficient sales process,” said John Gingrich, head of corporate development at EnergySage. “The information and transparency EnergySage brings to the shopping process helps consumers make faster, more confident decisions.”
Organizations promoting solar and other clean energy options will be able to use the platform to help their own efforts by using the site to speed up the solar shopping process, as well as offering several options to help them choose the best system, installer and financing option at the best value.
“Buying a solar power system should be as easy as buying any other household appliance. We believe that the ease and transparency that the EnergySage Marketplace brings to the solar power shopping process is a significant step toward achieving our ultimate goal of clean energy at every home, business and non-profit,” said Vikram Aggarwal, EnergySage CEO.
Other websites, such as FindSolar.com, Solar-estimate.org or even Sungevity’s iQuote platform, have similar offerings for consumers, but EnergySage has a new set of functionalities, allowing customers to compare and rate solar companies, that are unlike anything the solar industry has seen to date.