What are the new CPF Tools? How is it different from the previous version?
The new CPF Tools is the upgraded 2.0 version of our existing online software-as-a-service CPF Tools platform. The original version included:
Professional, branded proposal tool that generates residential proposals in less than one minute
Access to the most comprehensive and accurate solar industry data (i.e. nationwide utility rates, incentives and rebates, and CEC equipment)
Real-time visibility to better manage remote sales teams, measure costs and profitability, and track installation and sales pipelines
Installer training and support for CPF Tools
The upgrade for the new CPF Tools includes significant improvements that make using the sales and financing tools much easier than before:
Access to Financing (for qualified installers): The new Tools allows installers to match homeowner and system with the best financing option; compare financing options side-by-side; and automatically calculate ROI when changes are made to a proposal
Faster Quotes & Proposals: Less than three minutes from lead to optimized proposal; Quick Quote instantly estimates solar savings specific to each homeowner; and proposal templates highlight the installer’s brand
Easy-to-Use Site Measurement Tools: Powerful roof measurement tool easily sizes the site and auto-calculates area and azimuth; integrates shading data seamlessly; and includes built-in string sizing and auto population of utility rates based on zip code
Intuitive & Intelligent: New interface makes the workflow intuitive, organized and powerful, with customizable settings, controls and integration; calculations and updates auto-save in real time
Who is the target audience for this product, and how do they use it?
The CPF Tools platform is designed to integrate and provide value to everyone involved in the solar value chain, from manufacturers to investors to O&M employees to installers. However, the new CPF Tools and financing options are primarily geared toward residential solar installers to help them optimize the installation process. Installers sign up for a monthly CPF Tools license and use the platform from their laptops.
How does the CPF platform differ from what other companies are doing?
CPF Tools is the market-leading platform connecting solar system installation, design, sales and financing stakeholders. It is designed to integrate all sectors of the residential solar industry, which makes it more comprehensive than other management tools. Our unique financing options, which allow qualified residential installers to choose from a variety of fund options, further differentiate us from other solar financing companies.
In addition, CPF Tools is a white label solution, which allows installers to offer financing under their own brands and promote their individual companies. Furthermore, our tools are non-exclusive for installers, enabling them to conduct business with our services while maintaining freedom to operate independently. We feel this provides the greatest success for our partners.
How does the system work in practice and do we need special equipment or training to use it?
CPF Tools can be used by anyone with an Internet connection. Though the platform is currently optimized for laptop screens, we expect to have an iPad-specific version in early 2012.
We offer installers a variety of training and support for CPF Tools through our expert customer support –in person and by phone— as well as pre-loaded online “how-to” videos and customized live webinars. We have worked to make our product as user-friendly as possible and to streamline the complex residential solar quoting, permitting and installation processes.
Is the system designed for specific equipment from partner manufacturers or is it generic in nature?
As a web-based application, CPF Tools is hardware agnostic and can be used by anyone with an Internet connection.
Why is solar financing so important?
One of the primary obstacles to widespread adoption of residential solar has been financing (mitigating the major upfront costs associated with installing and purchasing solar panels) and navigating an extremely complex tax and permitting system. Making affordable financing options available to as many people as possible is the key to stimulating widespread adoption of residential solar. That’s why Clean Power Finance offers affordable financing options for qualified installers and homeowners as well as our CPF Tools residential solar sales platform to simplify, streamline and speed up the permitting process.
What other milestones has Clean Power Finance recently achieved?
Google just announced a $75 million fund with Clean Power Finance—our second fund to bring solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar leases to homeowners.
Clean Power Finance also recently announced that it is among the first to utilize Enphase Energy’s new solution integrating Silver Spring Networks’ smart grid networking technology. The Enphase solution delivers a single platform to manage all inverter and meter data, offering PPA providers increased visibility across their entire portfolio of solar energy systems. CPF makes the Enphase/Silver Spring Network solution available to PPA providers, third-party solar financing companies and solar installers who require a revenue-grade metering solution to qualify for solar credits and rebates.
What does the future hold for Clean Power Finance?
We believe the residential U.S. solar market as a whole, despite recent negative attention, remains a viable market. As solar is still a new and developing industry, there are some obstacles to overcome in order to speed adoption, such as streamlining the current complicated permitting system.
That being said, the residential solar market is healthy and Clean Power Finance’s success is a testimony to the growth potential of that solar sector. Solar financial services and platforms like ours will continue to propel the expanding residential solar market for years to come.
Adam Marsh, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder
Before co-founding Clean Power Finance, Adam was a co-founder at Coactive Networks, a technology startup enabling energy management, remote monitoring, and control over the Internet. At Coactive, he led strategic planning, product marketing, and investor relations, raising $42 million of venture capital. Adam also co-founded Internet identity company PrefPass. At SMIS and Integrated Automation, Adam developed software ranging from user interfaces to embedded systems. Adam has a BS from the University of California at Berkeley, MS from M.I.T., and he has completed postgraduate work in theoretical physics.