Solar project management software is a type of project management platform that facilitates the various challenges and workflows that solar companies, contractors and installers face on a daily basis.
This project management software for the solar industry is specifically designed to handle some of the most difficult, time-consuming and labor-intensive aspects of a solar business’ project workflow and operational process. The software platform is capable of facilitating different solar projects from start to finish. It helps with project cost estimation, project schedule management, project tracking, as well as analysis and reporting. In addition, solar project management software is also equipped with tools designed to help solar companies and contractors save time, money and resources. The management tool does this by increasing visibility and providing a big picture view of the company’s finished, ongoing and future residential/commercial solar projects.
Solar project management software gives businesses and organizations in the solar industry the ability to improve their productivity and efficiency, while mitigating most of the potential risks often involved in the solar project management process. A specialized software solution that’s specifically tailored for solar installation projects and workflow management has the capacity to help users maximize the efficiency of multiple solar projects at scale and throughout every stage. The system achieves this by providing project managers and teams with monitoring tools that enable them to track project status, the consumption of raw materials and resources, the costs estimated during the project planning stage, the assigned tasks and workloads, as well as the scheduling, all in real time.
For a solar company or a solar panel contractor doing field work, the freedom to make quick decisions, provide accurate cost estimates and to correctly get the job done on time is predicated on the tools that field personnel, technicians and agents are using while in the field. This is where solar project management software becomes invaluable to such professionals. The majority of software in this category is available as a downloadable application for mobile devices, on top of the web-based application. This makes the software more versatile and highly effective for field service work, such as that of solar project contractors and their panel installation teams.
Another thing about project management software for solar companies is that it reduces their dependence on physical paperwork, since everything is done digitally through various features and tools. They don’t have to rely on stacks of paper to keep track of the specific parameters of the project and the requirements of the customers. With features like document management integration, solar project managers can even use the platform to easily store, organize and manage important documents regarding the project within a central location. Through such function, solar companies can utilize the software as a single source of information for everything related to their previous, ongoing and upcoming solar projects.
Many top-tier solar project management software systems are equipped with customer relationship management or CRM capabilities, which is a crucial aspect in any business-to-consumer (B2C) operation, including solar panel design and installation services. The inclusion of CRM solutions in project management platforms for solar companies has definitely changed the industry for the better, especially when it comes to niche sectors like renewable energy. However, not all solar project management solutions have built-in CRM tools, albeit they do allow for the integration of best-in-class CRMs, among other third-party applications through the power of application programming interfaces or APIs.
With the availability of CRM and the implementation of mobile applications, field personnel like contractors, field technicians, solar panel installers and even sales teams can perform their job assignments more effectively. These cutting-edge tools also help solar companies become more competitive against rival companies that don’t necessarily have or use the same kind of functionality in their project management process. CRM can carry all the tools and capabilities of business management and incorporate them into the solar project management system through the cloud, which means users don’t have to load or install multiple programs to get the most out of their business solutions.
Computer-based or on-premise solutions require the user to be tethered to a computer system in order to use the program. Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, provide users with mobility as they simply require a stable connection and an internet-enabled device, such as a laptop or any secure desktop computer. With mobile app support, solar project management software can go to an even higher level in terms of mobility and usability as field service technicians, contractors and agents can take the program along with them, in their pocket, wherever they go. Now consider a cloud-based solar project management solution with mobile CRM capabilities. All this can help improve productivity and efficiency for all field personnel by a significant margin.
Solar project management software with fully integrated CRM functions can help businesses and contractors in the solar industry keep track of a few industry-specific metrics. These metrics often consist of values that need to be accessed and monitored while in the field, whether the team is providing a service or are making a sale. A quality solar project management system has the capacity to provide contractors and field workers all the data they might require about a particular customer or an ongoing solar panel installation project, among others. They have all the information they could ever need right at their fingertips.
Some of the key features of solar project management software include project accounting, task management, expense management, project templates, analytics and reporting, project billing, field service checklist builder, project resource management and scheduling. Obviously, not all solar project management solutions will have these exact features, but they may offer functions that are similar. This is why it’s important to conduct a thorough research before deciding on a particular product.
There are many types of solar project management software available in the market. While they all most likely come equipped with the fundamental tools required for facilitating solar projects at scale, there might be a few features and capabilities that separate the average ones from the top-tier solutions. However, this doesn’t mean that the more basic solar project management tools are useless or not worth checking out. Even the free software products have something to offer to the right contractor or company.
Identifying or figuring out the benefits of using a solar project management system is all about perspective. A small solar contractor might find it beneficial to use free solar project management software because they don’t have to spend money to have a software solution that they can use to share project-related information, as well as communicate and collaborate with team members and field-based personnel. While this is certainly a huge advantage for small solar companies with limited budget, it may not be a priority for larger and more established solar businesses dealing with multiple solar projects at scale.
One of the biggest benefits of this category of software is obviously its core function, project management. Project management solutions come in many different shapes and sizes. While there are plenty of general-purpose project management systems available, solar project management is more specialized. This is because the software specializes on business processes and project operations within the renewable energy sector, more specifically solar energy. Project management software for solar businesses has features and tools that are tailored for the solar industry. This will often include features like field service checklists, vendor license and insurance management, as well as panel install scheduling that factor in the weather quality to maximize efficiency.
Communication is vital when managing multiple projects with multiple field personnel. For a solar company that handles solar panel design and installation projects, the ability to communicate with their field managers, contractors and technicians is crucial to a smooth and successful project completion. A good project management solution always provides users with robust communication tools, including those designed for the solar industry. Some software products offer email and instant messaging capabilities, as well as real-time commenting on projects, while others allow seamless integration with third-party messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, for example.
Another beneficial aspect of using the right solar project management software is in its data gathering, analytics and reporting capabilities. Accurate and reliable data is crucial to any project management process. When it comes to solar projects, having access to not just accurate but real-time information is vital. Best-in-class solar project management systems are capable of capturing data, performing analysis and generating detailed reports. This allows project managers and contractors to make data-driven decisions at any stage of project development. Apart from data collection capabilities, this type of software also provides user-friendly tools to help facilitate administrative work.
Solar project management software is a very effective and practical solution for streamlining workflows and optimizing performance in any project management and development process. For solar companies and contractors, the software doesn’t just help with capturing and centralizing project information, it also enables users to streamline workflows, create checklists, allocate tasks, assign the right personnel to the right projects and provide the best quality service possible to the customers/clients.
Solar project management software allows project managers and contractors to keep track of resource allocation and utilization, prioritize on-going assignments, manage due dates and deadlines, target project delivery and develop reasonable expense plans and contingencies to ensure project completion without going over the proposed budget.