Sunrun, a cutting-edge company that specializes in residential third-party-owned solar systems, announced yesterday that the Department of Energy has awarded the company $1.6 million to further develop its workflow automation system.
The financial award is part of the DOE SunShot Initiative’s incubator program.
Sunrun is currently working toward the DOE-directed goal of reducing the soft costs associated with solar installation. After the price of solar panels dropped nearly 80 percent in two years, focus shifted to the elimination of associated soft costs, such as marketing, planning, designing, packing, shipping, permitting and installing solar.
Sunrun’s end-to-end workflow automation system aims to “dramatically streamline the design, workflow, processing, pricing and project management of home solar projects,” according to a release from the company.
Sunrun launched its automatic design generation tool, Lightmile, in 2012. Since its release, it has been used to generate more than 100,000 designs.
The cloud-based program allows regular people with no special training to interactively create and optimize solar installation designs on their own personal computers. It generates shade analysis, energy simulations, bills-of-material, and system costs, as well as proposals and contracts.
“Sunrun saw an opportunity to create a standardized solar platform and has the technical expertise to do for the solar industry what AutoCAD did for design automation,” said Billy Hinners, VP of Technology at Sunrun. “Historically, the solar industry has followed conventional construction practices, but with Lightmile and our end-to-end workflow automation system, we’re able to marry solar with high technology for greater efficiency.”
A spokesperson for the company stated that management hopes Lightmile will go well beyond Sunrun, something the $1.6 million award will promote.
“We’re honored that the DOE’s SunShot Initiative chose Sunrun as an award recipient through its highly competitive selection process,” stated Lynn Jurich, Sunrun Co-CEO. “The SunShot Initiative has been a catalyst in creating many of the solar industry’s most successful innovations. We believe our platform will be an industry standard, helping accelerate the adoption of home solar by millions of Americans.”