Solar energy firm Sungevity has teamed up with Lowe’s to offer quick quotes for solar panel installation to customers for free. The quotes come thanks to a high tech computer program, iQuote, that uses satellite images, electricity bill information and data of the earth’s trajectory around the sun to approximate how much it would cost to install solar panels on a certain home and then — with the help of past electricity bills — show potential owners how much they would save after the installation. As part of the partnership the iQuote system will be installed in 30 Lowe’s stores in California this July.
In addition to providing estimates the iQuote system eliminates the cost of the on site visit usually needed before the installation of solar panels on a home. With the new computer program, people that are interested can get an idea of how much it would cost them to hook up to the sun, instead of the grid, without committing very much time or any money at all before they know the feasibility of installing solar on their property. In addition to offering information on installation costs and savings the iQuote system also provides a rendering of what the solar panels would look like installed, in case such aesthetics are worrisome to home owners.
The iQuote system is available currently online, where 25,000 people have taken it for a test drive — Sungevity says they’ve turned 1,500 of those into actual installations. Sungevity is hoping this deal with Lowe’s — that also gives the home improvement store about a 20% ownership in the solar firm — will help them compete with larger solar firms that have more money at hand. “This will help us to get in front of thousands more customers, in front of middle America,” Danny Kennedy, Sungevity’s founder, told The Huffington Post. “We’ll be taking it to the ‘burbs, as it were.” Kennedy added that he wants the purchase of solar panels to be as easy as buying a light bulb.