As all solar pros know, the proposal and plan set to permitting and PTO process can be cumbersome. Wouldn’t it be easier and more profitable if you could just focus on sales and installation? On this episode of The Pitch, we get the inside scoop on Wattmonk, which is proposing just that.
For the uninitiated, Wattmonk can handle site assessment, sales proposals, solar and battery storage plan sets, engineering reviews, and more. They are operational in every state and the Caribbean, and also offer super-fast turnaround times: plan sets in 3 hours, sales proposals in 45 minutes. Ankit Sheoran, CEO of Wattmonk, about its turnkey solar engineering services.
“Over the years, Wattmonk has evolved into your everyday solar store for solar installers,” explains Ankit Sheoran, CEO of Wattmonk. “Picture our platform like a strip mall for solar engineering — a hub where each of our services acts as a unique store. Solar installers visit this mall daily, navigating through different stores to find and purchase exactly what they need. It’s a comprehensive one-stop solution for all things related to solar engineering.”
Watch the full 13 min chat right here or read through the transcript below:
Crowell: I’m trying to wrap my head around what a solar installation business looks like that utilizes all of these services. Can you walk me through the actual workflow and back and forth between you and the installer during all this?
Sheoran: “When we got into solar engineering, we found it was very different from the way all of us are used to buying things, which is mostly online. So, we created this platform which gives you a similar kind of experience like you have when you buy things on Amazon or order food from DoorDash.
“Our workflow is pretty simple: solar installers login, pick from various services, they place an order, and then are able to effortlessly track the progress of the project through its journey. The platform features an easy communication channel allowing the customer to interact via audio calls, video calls, or chat with our design and engineering team so that if they want any kind of customizations done to their order, they can do that. If they want anything to be changed or any improvements to be done, that can be also done right there. Essentially everything happens on the centralized platform, which makes it easier for those installers to have a hassle-free solar engineering.”
Crowell: Do you have a few examples of how customers have organized their operations differently due to being able to log in and kind of offload those various services to you?
Sheoran: “We have experience of working with more than 150 solar installers, but for this particular question what I’m going to do is take three customers of different sizes.
“The first customer is a small establishment, a family run shop doing about 10 to 15 installations a month. Obviously because it’s a tightly run show, they do not have the capacity to build a really good engineering team. So they offload all the engineering work to us, and they focus on the sales and managing their cash flow.
“Customer 2 is a solar installer that’s growing pretty rapidly. They’re doing maybe 100 to 200 installations a month and are growing by 50 installations every month. For this customer, the challenge was that they had all their designs not coming out accurately. Their approvals were getting delayed, their engineering stamps were not getting approved. When we got deeper into it, the reason or challenge that we found was that the surveys that these guys were doing, the information that they were capturing at the homeowner’s place were not accurate.
“They started using our survey app, which is an app available both on iOS as well as Android and is a self-guided app that kind of guides a user on which information they need to capture. It also ensures that the information that is captured is accurate, and the surveyor does not need to come back to that particular location. Once they started using that particular app, their plan sets got more accurate, their engineering became faster, and they had way less rejection than they used to have to have in the past.
“Customer 3 is one of the top 10 solar installers in the country, and they were expanding and looking for options to expand in-house. When they saw the scale at which Wattmonk works, and the database that we operate with, instead of expanding in-house, they started using us for their overflow work and also they started using us in states where they necessarily are not present yet, but we have our expertise. So that’s how we help these larger solar businesses as well.”
Crowell: I can see this being a way for a residential solar installer to expand in other ways, like maybe into C&I. Am I right about that?
Sheoran: “The current trend in the solar industry, especially when sales for residential solar are slumping, a lot of installers are moving towards commercial and industrial projects, which are still profitable and still make sense. We ourselves do have quite a few of our existing customers who used to work in residential solar, and they said ‘hey, we want to get into commercial and industrial, can you guys handle that?’ Because we have our separate division for commercial and industrial projects, we have been able to help them in tweaking their processes, and at the same time make a few changes in the way they handle projects. Things are going well so far.”
Pick up the conversation right there, especially to hear about the new machine-learning plan set builder: Zippy.
- 6:40 – Most popular features? (survey app and survey service)
- 8:16 – Overview of Zippy — a new, machine-learning plan set builder
- 9:50 – How does it improve profitability and reduce soft costs?
- 11:12 – How to achieve fast permitting approval
Listen to more in-depth conversations on Solar Builder's YouTube channel
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