Using software for PV system design will reduce time spent and costs for each project. What sets Aurora apart from other software tools are our accuracy, pioneering technology, experience, and our awesome customer success team.

Calculating Battery Backup & Storage in Residential Solar
Calculating Battery Backup & Storage in Residential Solar

Q&A with Justin Durack, VP of Product | Aurora Solar

Tell us about yourself and your role with Aurora Solar.

I’m the VP of Product at Aurora Solar where I’m constantly focused on making the best software products for our customers. My background is in software engineering, entrepreneurship, and product management across a number of industries and startups. Previously I led the product team at a health tech startup to rebuild the infrastructure of employer-based health benefits from the ground up. What gets me excited and engaged is tackling hard problems worth solving. 

I was initially drawn to Aurora because I wanted to work somewhere that is making the biggest dent in slowing down climate change. After hearing the story of how Aurora got started from the co-founders—Sam and Chris, and learning more about the product and the company’s mission to create a future of solar energy for all, I was sold. I’m lucky to be a part of an incredible company, working on one of the biggest problems of our time.

For those not familiar with the software, what is Aurora?

Aurora is a cloud-based software for designing and selling distributed solar and storage projects anywhere around the world. Using Aurora, solar professionals can remotely assess the physical and environmental characteristics of a site, determine how many solar panels will fit on a roof, forecast how much energy the PV system will produce, calculate electricity bill savings, and generate sales proposals with financing options.

With our recent battery storage feature release, users can now size a battery backup system, make recommendations based on the homeowner’s backup needs, and include the price into the sales proposal.

Tell us more about this new battery storage feature!

We’re really excited to offer tools that—for the first time—will enable solar professionals to design the appropriate backup system for the homeowner and make recommendations based on their electricity use and backup needs. This new feature will significantly reduce the time needed to design and price storage backup systems.

They just plug in how much backup capacity the customer wants, and Aurora will accurately calculate the appropriate battery size and system cost for them. For these calculations, Aurora dynamically factors in how much power will be produced from the PV system, how much of the customer’s load will be backed up, the number of batteries and inverters selected, and how long the battery backup system will last. 

We’ve also made it easy to sell storage by pre-assembling three storage options for the PV system designed in Aurora. 

Can you walk us through the thought and design process behind Aurora’s battery storage feature?

Aurora Solar’s product team spent several months researching how solar and storage are sold today. We talked to installers around the world to learn what they are looking for in their storage solutions so that we can build the best solution for them. 

We found that installers are looking for an easy way to assess battery capacity, select the best battery configuration for their customers, and include it in the costs. And we built that. We’ve made it very easy for installers to determine and design the appropriate battery backup system for their customers. We have one of the most comprehensive databases of batteries and inverters in the industry, and the costs are automatically populated into the sales proposals.

With Aurora, installers won’t need to stitch together and pay for multiple tools to include storage in their design or sales proposals anymore.

What are some advantages Aurora can provide for installers?

Using software for PV system design will reduce time spent and costs for each project. What sets Aurora apart from other software tools are our accuracy, pioneering technology, experience, and our awesome customer success team. 

Our software’s accuracy has been validated by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab and accepted by all regional rebate authorities in the U.S. You know that the calculations you get from Aurora like estimated PV system energy production, utility bill savings, and payback periods are going to be as accurate as it can get. Aurora is able to provide a higher level of confidence for our customers because we’re constantly pioneering industry-leading features, including the use of computer vision to enhance the accuracy of remote site assessments and LIDAR-based shade analysis.

Another big advantage Aurora provides is user experience. You don’t need to jump from one platform to another; you can work in Aurora from designing PV and battery backup systems all the way to creating a sales proposal. We developed AI-assistant 3D modeling and automated PV system design to assist our customers. We also have an awesome team of individuals ready to help if our customers need it.

Aurora Solar recently put together a virtual solar summit. What topics were covered and where can we find the recordings?

Aurora Solar hosted our very first (virtual) Empower Solar Summit this summer, and we were very fortunate to have Abby Hopper and Jigar Shah give our opening keynote messages. We covered a wide range of topics including solar financing, lead generation, battery storage, and remote sales. Our team also put together a panel focused on state solar priorities before and with COVID and another one with CEOs discussing how they’re managing the pandemic’s uncertainties.

The talk recordings can be found here; it’s free and available to everyone.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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