This tutorial series is more than just an orientation to Nearmap on OpenSolar. It is designed to walk you through setting up Nearmap on OpenSolar to work for your business, from logging in through to establishing up your company details and setting up your project defaults. We'll show you how to design solar systems for your customers using standard vertical (top-down) imagery, Oblique imagery and even 3D content. You'll discover how to measure roof slope and azimuth and analyse shading. And we'll take you through designing your customer's proposal to deliver online or as pdf.

Each module is available here as a video and as written instruction. Choose either or both – whatever suits you best. You can go back over the modules as slowly as you need to, whenever you need to.

When you've completed the series, we invite you to fill in our online training feedback survey. This will help us improve our training so we can better help you in the future.

Why not start now?




Module 1: Introducing Nearmap on Open Solar


VIDEO run time: 5 mins

This module is ideal for:

Nearmap on OpenSolar Admins and Team Members

At the end of this module you will:

  • Understand the relationship between Nearmap on OpenSolar and OpenSolar.
  • Know how to log in and navigate around the Zones.
  • Understand the very basics of an OpenSolar project.



Read the instructions

Congratulations — you’ve just equipped your team with a powerful solar design  and proposal tool that will help you win more customers and streamline costs. 
This is the first module in a series aimed to get you up and running on Nearmap on OpenSolar.
In this first module we’ll answer questions such as: “What is OpenSolar?” and “What is Nearmap on OpenSolar?” You’ll find out how to log in and get a quick tour of the OpenSolar interface, so you can get yourself oriented before you dive deeper in the modules that follow.

What is Nearmap on OpenSolar?


OpenSolar has partnered with Nearmap to bring you Nearmap on OpenSolar. OpenSolar is a web-based application that provides an end-to-end solution to solar professionals like yourself. From setting up your brand, automatically laying out panels, and stringing, generating interactive proposals, managing your workflow and customer payments. And you have access to OpenSolar’s rich database of solar components and plenty of scope to customise to add anything you need.
While OpenSolar is primarily a residential tool, you can use it to design systems of up to 3000 solar panels.
Combined with Nearmap’s high coverage, high resolution, and regularly updated Vertical, Oblique and Digital Surface Model (3D) content, you’re able to take OpenSolar to the next level to accurately place components, analyse shading and provide your customers with the confidence of more than just a top-down view of their solar systems.

Accessing NMOS


Have you logged into your new Nearmap on OpenSolar account? 
Whether you are new to OpenSolar or you already have an OpenSolar account, logging into Nearmap on OpenSolar only takes a few minutes. 
Before you do this, you must have a Nearmap on OpenSolar subscription. And you need to be a Nearmap administrator.
You can log in from OpenSolar’s website or from Nearmap’s website, it doesn’t matter. But the first time you log into Nearmap on OpenSolar, start from Nearmap.


  1. Go to Nearmap.com
  2. Log in
  3. Click the orange Go to OpenSolar button.


You end up on OpenSolar’s Control Zone landing page.

Quick overview

There’s so much you can do with Nearmap on OpenSolar, so now that you’re logged in, it’s a good time to take a quick tour so you can get to know what’s where. 

Control Zone

After you log in, you’re in the Control Zone. Here you can take advantage of extensive options to configure OpenSolar to suit your business: from company info to pricing and payment, through to the customer’s purchase experience and hardware settings.

Projects Zone

Now click on Projects to take you to the Projects Zone, OpenSolar’s mini CRM (customer relationship management system). Think of it as the business end of OpenSolar, where you manage contacts, track your projects, contact customers with just a click, and update electricity usage. 
(When you first start using OpenSolar, there’ll be no projects. To give you the feel of a system that’s already up and running these screen shots will show some pre-populated projects.)
Creating a project is your main aim. It pulls together all the information you need to prepare a proposal for a particular address. 
Once in the Projects Zone, and you have some projects in there, you will be able to see that each line is a project. 


Note that you can star a project to highlight it for whatever reason.
Your project contact is usually the customer. You can call, chat and email your customer directly from this page. 
At a glance you can see what stage your project is in, as well as its priority.
From here, you can go straight to the Studio Zone to work on the design, or to the interactive proposal. And you can directly delete any projects.

There are several ways to view your solar projects:
There’s a filter at the top right. Click on this and select how you want to narrow down the projects you see, for example by project characteristics - sold, priority, stage, sold date…
And at the top left you have a higher-level filter which you can use to filter projects, files, calendar, contacts (because once you add them into a project, it saves into the OpenSolar CRM), and any transactions that have occurred against any of your projects. 

You’ve seen the Control Zone and Projects Zone, now let’s have a quick look at the other two OpenSolar zones. 

Meet Studio Zone

The Studio Zone is where the fun happens. Size up your customer’s roof and create a professional design in minutes using Nearmap’s Vertical, Oblique or 3D content


Meet MyEnergy Zone

In the MyEnergy Zone you can beautifully showcase your design in a digital proposal with multiple configuration and hardware options. And include Nearmap’s gorgeous imagery. Send the proposal to your customer either as a pdf or as an interactive link which they can sign online.

Closing

Even in that brief overview, you can see there’s a lot to the OpenSolar interface. That’s why this series of modules will take step-by-step through all you need to know to get up and running with Nearmap on OpenSolar: from setting up the system for your business, to creating your proposal template, designing your solar systems and finally sending off the proposal and managing payment.





Module 2: Set things up in Nearmap on OpenSolar


VIDEO run time: 11:30 mins

This module is ideal for:

Nearmap on OpenSolar Admins

At the end of this module you will:

  • Be able to navigate the Control Zone.

  • Set up company-related information, pricing, design and purchase experience.



Read the instructions

While it might be tempting to dive right in and start designing your solar projects, as the administrator it’s worth taking the time to set some things up, so your business can tick over and your brand can shine.

In this module we’re going to look at OpenSolar’s Control Zone - where, as an OpenSolar administrator, you can set up all your operational details like company information, pricing, payment, hardware and design settings.
Make sure you’re logged in. If you haven’t logged in yet, we recommend you have a look at the first in this series : Introducing Nearmap on OpenSolar.
Now click on Control at the bottom of the OpenSolar window.

First things first - set up your company’s basics.

  • Establish your brand by clicking Company > Business info. Set up your company details, enter your About Us info and upload your logo. 

  • Add your team members and set one other as an admin. It’s worth knowing that all your team members need to be on the same Nearmap account (although they could be on different Nearmap subscriptions). Admins can change pricing and access payments, among other things, so we recommend limiting the number of team members you make an admin.
  • Set up your OpenSolar CRM to work for you by establishing action items (for project stages) and project tags (to categorise). You can find this under Business Processes.
  • Personalise your customer email subject line and message under Settings. And set up your SMTP details if you want emails to come from your business email address rather than from OpenSolar. 
  • By default, project team members can only see projects that are assigned to them. If you want team members to see each other’s projects, no problem, just ensure project access is set to unrestricted. Bear in mind that admins will always be able to oversee all of the projects.

Pricing and Payment options

Complex or varied pricing is not an issue with OpenSolar. You can set up any of 4 different pricing schemes, with any combination of settings – and you can opt to automatically apply a scheme based on a location. Let’s take a closer look:
Select System Pricing under Pricing and Payment. A couple of basic pricing schemes are already set up. The one with the Tick is your default. When you create your design, this pricing scheme will be applied to your design, unless you select a different one. You can have multiple designs for your proposal, each with a different pricing scheme, if you want.
OpenSolar offers four different ways pricing can be applied in any scheme.

  1. If you set up your cost of goods and you opt for a Markup Percentage of say 20%, OpenSolar will just apply a 20% markup percentage on your cost of goods.
  2. Fixed price - is a simple overall cost applied to the system, regardless of the system size.
  3. Price per Watt - This type of pricing allows you to set a price based on the system capacity. If say every Watt is $3, add the battery at $400 per kilowatt, then OpenSolar will calculate the price for you based on your design. 
  4. A variation on this with more granularity is the Price per Watt by size which lets you specify the price per watt for system sizes within a certain KWatt range.


How about we create our own pricing scheme?

  1. Press CREATE NEW PRICING SCHEME. Name it Markup Percentage 20%
  2. Select the pricing formula as markup %, enter 20 as percentage and 10 as tax.
  3. Select Auto-apply to set it as the default. Press SAVE.

Click on Payment Options and you can see that cash is the default option for the customer. You can edit this and add your own payment options.

  1. Click EDIT.
  2. You can add to this that you require a 30% deposit when the customer accepts the proposal, and set that deposit as a minimum of $2000 and maximum of $5000. And you can add any supplementary terms and conditions as well, such as a 30% deposit is non refundable after 30 day cooling off period.
  3. Press SAVE.

If cash won’t always work for your customers, no problem, OpenSolar has a variety of payment options you can set up, including regular payments, loan and lease. Just press CREATE PAYMENT OPTION to set a new one up.

Costing - automate and fine-tune project costs

Three storey house, steep roof, delicate slate tiles… all those little challenges that add time and cost to your project… you can cost them here, so that they are automatically applied to your project.
You can capture a lot of variance in a cost list, so you may only need to create one at first. For example, your list can contain a cost to be applied for two and three storey buildings, a metal tin roof, a shingle roof, extra slope, etc. You only need to create another cost list if you want to apply a different set of costs to some projects. For example, you might be running a deal where shipping is free, so you’d set up a cost list without a shipping charge. Or you might want to apply cost only per Watt for some customers, and per Panel and per Watt for others.
Later, when you’re designing a project for your customer, you can apply the appropriate cost list and these costs will be calculated automatically (this will make more sense when we look at designing in the next module).

  1. To set up a cost list head to Cost Information and click CREATE A NEW COST LIST.
  2. Give your cost list a name – we’ll call it “Standard with shipping”.
  3. Let’s set it as the default, so it will automatically apply to each project you set up.
  4. Press SAVE.
  5. Click the COGS (cost of goods) dropdown and you’ll see here the things you can put Cost of Goods against. OpenSolar gives you the flexibility to set up cost of goods per system, per panel and per Watt.
    There are different buildup, acquisition and fulfillment costs. You could enter, say,  $100 for shipping. If you scroll down a bit further you can see extra costs. These allow you to charge for job difficulty. So if you're working on a two storey house you can charge $450 per system. And it it’s a three story house, an extra $650. For a steep pitch slope you could charge, say, $350. And for a very steep pitch slope, $650. You can set your steep pitch range to be between 25 and 40 (very steep pitch in this case will be anything over 40). When you're measuring the roof pitch, OpenSolar will apply that cost automatically. And you could say that metal tin roof jobs are tricky, so factor in a cost of $200 per system.
  6. Now save this Cost list. 

You can always select a different cost list to apply to a project (and you can learn more about that in Module 3 - Design with Nearmap on OpenSolar).

Design and Hardware

OpenSolar has an extensive database of solar components including panels “modules”, inverters, batteries and other components such as power optimisers. If you can’t find the component you’re after, you can easily add it here.
OpenSolar’s component database does not include pricing, so it’s up to you to you to set pricing here against any component you use. 
You set up modules, inverters, batteries and other components the same way. So if you click into Modules, (under Design & Hardware) you can see the most frequently used module is set as default. And when you open up a project, this will be the module you place on the roof, unless you physically select a different one.

Let’s have a look at a module. Click EDIT against a module and you can see the specs of the module. You can set up your product warranty information here and your cost of goods per unit ex tax. Please note that this applies only to the warranty of your components, not any additional warranty information as part of your contract. Toggle to make it your default module and know that you can easily select a different module when you’re designing your system.

Setback and design settings

OpenSolar gives you total control and flexibility over your solar panel placement, tilt rack positioning and even automatic stringing.

  1. Hop to Setback and Design Settings.
  2. Click on CREATE SETBACK & DESIGN SETTINGS. Give your setback a name and save.
  3. Drop down Setbacks & Studio Settings and choose your inverter modelling. Set to automatic if you want OpenSolar to model the stringing for you.
  4. You can see here that the setbacks are all set to 0.3 and tilt racks are in a landscape orientation. You could set them to portrait. Check that this is the default and this will automatically be applied when you create your design.
    Be assured that, when you’re designing, you have complete flexibility to select another one of your saved setback configurations or you can individually adjust the stringing, setbacks and tilt racks directly on your design.
  5. Press SAVE.


Tailor the information you present to your customers in the energy and financial simulation graphs. Under simulation settings, you can adjust the number of years of simulate on the graphs that are included on the proposal, add feed-in tariffs, discount rates and more. You can see how these graphs look in Module 4 - "Create a Stunning Proposal."

Closing

You are now set up to start designing with OpenSolar. 
All you need to do now is create your proposal template and then you’re in business. Find out how in the next module in this series “Create a stunning proposal”. You’ll find it in the Knowledge Hub right below this video. While you’re there, you’ll find links to OpenSolar articles and ways to sign up to OpenSolar’s regular newsletter and deep dive webinars.




Module 3: Design with Nearmap on OpenSolar


VIDEO run time: 16 mins

This module is ideal for:

Nearmap on OpenSolar Admins and Team Members

At the end of this module you will:

  • Be able to set up a project.

  • Know how to create multiple system designs both manually and automatically, using Oblique imagery to accurately position the roof.

  • Be able to determine the slope of a roof.

  • Know how to add images to your proposal.



Read the instructions

This is when the fun happens. You’re going to get our hands dirty without leaving our desk (or couch). So strap yourself in, coz this is the big bit.

Create Project

You have a solar job that you’re going to quote on. You’ll need to create a project so we can start designing.

  1. Jump to the Projects Zone and click CREATE A NEW RECORD and enter the address. If it’s a customer you've dealt with previously, you can just “Assign existing contact”.
    At this point there’s some optional administration. If your business has a dedicated administrator, he or she might complete these steps:
  2. Toggle Add More Details to On.
  3. It might be useful to add some tags to your project, set a priority, and assign it to another team member, along with handover notes.
  4. If you have a bill from your customer, you can select the type of bill. If not, you can leave it as default and OpenSolar will base the energy usage on its data source for the address location.



    You don't have to fill this section out to proceed. And you can always add these later, before you generate the proposal.

Okay, let’s get designing!

So from here click on Create and Design and it will take you to the Studio Zone and the address that you're going to work on. 
If you’re jumping into OpenSolar straight from logging in, you would simply find the address on the OpenSolar landing page (in Projects Zone) and click on the Studio icon.

Meet the studio

With your Nearmap Oblique subscription, you'll see the address from the aerial view plus all of the photos (that’s Oblique photos in Nearmap speak) from various compass directions. To start using Nearmap Oblique content, you need to be designing in FULL DESIGN  mode. If you don’t see the Oblique thumbnails across the bottom, and you have a Nearmap Oblique subscription, follow these steps:

  • Click ENABLE FULL DESIGN. This will enable full design mode for your current project.
  • Click the Setting COG at the top right, then select Studio Preferences, and then turn off Start in Basic Mode. This will enable full design mode from now on.
  • Then go to settings and select Restart Design. Now each time you log in, you’ll always be in full design mode.


To the left, you have our system design pane, which is like our toolbar. Across the top you see a tab for each system you design for this project. You can design many systems for your project. As soon as you create more than three systems these tabs disappear and are replaced by a drop down menu with each system listed.
To the right is your compass. There are some more drawing tools in the bottom right hand corner. 

Components

Panels, inverters, batteries and other components are all set up the same way.

  1. Drop down Panels and click SELECT. This brings up the panel database, showing your most frequently used modules (your Active modules) on the left. On the right is your database of 18000 panels.
  2. You can search by brand or by product code. And then, once you find the panel you want, you just hit select, and it will add itself to your active modules list.

If you can't find what you're looking for, you can create your own just by clicking Create Module. This takes you back to Control Zone and you’ll be prompted to save your project. You would download the spec sheet from Google and use the information from it to fill out the fields.

It’s the same setup for inverters and batteries, You already saw how to set up the default in Control Zone.

Click back on Studio to return to your design.

To include other components into your design that may have an associated cost of goods, such as tilt frames, or different labor installation fees from different third party installers, simply drop down Other Components and click + COMPONENT then select from the list or create a new one. 

Advanced settings

Advanced Settings is where you can recalculate your design and set up the system lifetime. For an upgrade project, you would model the existing system and indicate this as the existing system by checking the Existing System to Upgrade box.  Then you would create new systems to be the upgrade designs.

Pricing

Now let’s choose the pricing scheme for this customer. Click Price under Pricing & Payment Options. You can see here we have price per watt by size. Click on this to see other pricing options. You set these up in Module 2 - “Set things up”, so check back in on that module if you want a refresher. You could select the one that we set up to use: "markup percentage 20%" just for the practise, or you could select your own, if you've set one up.

Beneath this you can see  your project price breakdown here, for your eyes only. And further down is where you can choose the incentives to add to your proposal. This is populated from your design. and you'll see this populate once you’ve placed some panels on the roof. You would just need to create an incentive list yourself (in the Control Zone) and you can always override it here.  

Place the panels – manual way

Now you can place panels on the roof. There are two ways to do this:

  • you can place panels manually
  • you can let OpenSolar place them for you.

Let’s look at the manual way first.

Click plus panels at the top of your page. You can see that a panel follows your cursor. Just click and drag and place those panels on the roof. Super simple.

You know that the panel group is selected because it has a rectangle yellow rectangle outline. It’s also highlighted up on the systems tab and over on the left that it's a panel group. 


Edit the panel group

  • If you want to remove or add any panels, just click between the white gridlines. You can also drag across the gridlines.
  • To move a panel group, head over to the toolbar, click on MOVE HORIZ, grab the yellow circle, and move this over to here. 

  • Change the azimuth from the left-hand pane by clicking the up or down arrow.
  • You can change the orientation of the panel group, just by toggling between the portrait and landscape radio buttons.
  • If, for example, you're working on a flat roof, and you don't want any shadows casting on any of the panels, you can add gaps between the x and the y axes just by entering a gap measurement or using the up and down arrows.

Place the panels – automatic way

The other way to place panels, is by outlining the roof profile and letting OpenSolar place the panels for you. This method is available with a basic subscription, but with an Oblique subscription, you have the advantage of being able to measure the slope of the roof as well.

At this point you need to know that there's a third way to measure a roof with Nearmap on OpenSolar and that is by using our DSM 3D content. We’ll look at that in Module 6 - "Design in 3D". 
For now, let’s take a look at how to design your solar system using Nearmap Oblique.

  1. Make sure you’ll still in studio and have the address in view.
  2. Select DRAWING TOOLS and then ROOF. Now you'll see a blue dot is following the cursor. 
  3. First map out the roof facet by clicking on each of its corners. Once you close that out, at the top left hand corner, you'll see a roof facet and you can also see its area. If you zoom in a little bit, you can see a red border within the facet boundary. That’s the setback 0.3 from the gutter and ridges. (You set that up in the Control Zone.) 
  4. Next identify each of the edge lines by right-clicking on the edge line, and selecting the edge type. Make sure you identify them correctly, otherwise the alignment steps may not work. There's a link on this page to a useful article on OpenSolar's support site called "What are the Different Edge Types?".



    • Each edge type is colour-coded. You can see that it's also taking the measurement of the azimuth on the left hand side and displaying the setback value (in this case 0.3m).



    • Remember that you can create multiple different setbacks and other design settings in Control Zone. So if you’re working in different regions with different regulations and you need to apply a different setback, just select the one you need.
    • If you need to apply a different set of setbacks you need to switch your proposal template on the project page that way the studio will reflect the correct setbacks. Remember setbacks are unique to the proposal template so if you are working in multiple regions with different setbacks this will require multiple proposal templates. You can create additional templates in Control Zone.
  5. You can indicate any roof obstructions, such as chimneys and flues. Click DRAWING TOOLS > OBSTRUCTION. Then click on a flue or chimney, for example, to drop the obstruction blob onto the map. Right-click to select a different shape for the obstruction. Change the size from the left-hand panel. Once you've drawn an obstruction on the roof, OpenSolar won't panels on it.
  6. Now you're ready to place the panels: click within the roof facet and hit AUTO LAYOUT. OpenSolar will place as many panels as it can into the measured area, taking into consideration the setbacks, the obstructions and anything else. If you don't want a gap between the panel rows, just click on the panel group, and over on the left you can just remove that X and/or y gap figure. You can add some panels to the design, simply by clicking the empty space next to the panel.

Measure roof slope

One of the things that makes Nearmap on OpenSolar so powerful is that you can determine the slope of the roof without visiting site. And of course once you know the roof pitch you can automate costs to be applied to any pitch you deem to be steep or very steep. (We set this up in Control Zone.)
Here’s how you measure the roof slope: 

  1. Click on a different Oblique image thumbnail - This is where the oblique images are super useful, because they let you see that roof facet from different compass directions.
    You may see N, S, E, W or NE, SE, NW, SW. It depends on the route our survey flights took when they captured the images.
    Once the Oblique image loads, you might see that the roof facet you drew isn’t aligned. The program will also tell you that it's not aligned here just in the bottom right hand corner. 
  2. To align the roof to the image: from tools at the bottom right, click on ALIGN and drag just the image until the roof facet you drew aligns with the roof in the image. Click ALIGN again to confirm that it's correct and to exit Align mode.
  3. Align the drawn ridgeline (or apex) with the ridge (or apex) on the image by selecting the edge (or node). Check the left-hand pane to ensure it says Edge (or Node). Click MOVE UP/DOWN. Now grab the arrow and align it with the line of the ridge (or apex), then click MOVE UP/DOWN to confirm. 



  4. Click on the roof facet and you can see the slope measurement. And if you've got a steep pitch range of 25 to 40 set in your control settings, the customer will be charged out for your work on the steep pitch roof. 
  5. So if you're happy with that, and you want to include this image in your customer proposal, you can click the show customer checkbox just up on the left, and then a little Show Customer banner will appear on the image thumbnail. All images with this banner will be included in the proposal.
  6. If, for example, you wanted to model an existing system as it looked when it was installed several years ago, no problem. You can access Nearmap’s full catalog of vertical imagery. Click Historical Vertical Imagery and then just browse back through the historical imagery.


Add a panel group

To add another panel group, for example, if you have some spare space on the roof, you can do that just by clicking on plus panels and dragging them in.

You can change the orientation using the Portrait/Landscape radio buttons, if you need them to fit. You can see that OpenSolar displays each panel group and the total number of panels it contains. Click on a panel group and you can see the information in the left pane reflects the panel group you've selected. So if you want to make any changes, you're only making changes to the specific panel group you’ve selected.

Add a battery and inverter(s)

  1. Name your design.
  2. Try adding a battery.
  3. Drop down Batteries in the left-hand panel.
  4. Click + BATTERY and select your battery.

If your inverter modeling set to automatic (in Control settings) OpenSolar picks the right amount of inverters for the amount of panels that you’ve chosen. And it does the stringing for you.

I think you've done it. You've set up your first system – the first design option for your customer.

Add a system

How about you create a second system option for your customer?

  1. All you need to do is click + System > New System from the system tabs across the top. 
    You’ve already done the ground work measuring the roof, so all you need to do is lay different panels, or array the panels in a different way.
  2. Hit SELECT, and choose different panels.
  3. Click on AUTO LAYOUT.
    You might want remove some of those panels so both systems are comparable with the same number of panel systems.
  4. Give this system a name.

Stringing

So now you have two designs. So you can see here one has a battery and an inverter, the other one only has the panels. If you want to do your own stringing, you can you can set that to manual under the Inverters dropdown. That is an advanced operation that we aren’t covering here. There is a link in the Extra Resources section to more information on OpenSolar's support site.

To save the design, click on the cog at the top right, and hit SAVE DESIGN.

Closing

Your design is done. We hope you can see how flexible the OpenSolar application is and how Nearmap imagery can really help you accurately position solar panel arrays and save you a site visit.
Now it’s time to send the proposal. This is the next module in this series and you’ll find it in the Knowledge Hub right below this video. While you’re there, you’ll find links to OpenSolar articles and ways to sign up to OpenSolar’s regular newsletter and deep dive webinars.
This was a big session and you covered a lot of ground, so pat yourself on the back, have a breather, have a practise and come back to go through the next module.




Module 4: Create a stunning proposal in Nearmap on OpenSolar


VIDEO run time: 8:30 mins

This module is ideal for:

Nearmap on OpenSolar Admins and Team Members

At the end of this module you will:

  • Set up a proposal template from scratch.
  • Understand how to customise the proposal template.
  • Learn how to create other types of templates.
  • Get familiar with the lead generation feature.



Read the instructions

Give your business the professional edge by creating smart, comprehensive and beautiful proposals and other documents for your customers. In this moduel you'll find out how to set up from scratch a proposal template that you can either send to your customer as an interactive web link or as a pdf.
Let’s dive in!

Energy Yield Report

For those of you who are transitioning from Classic MapBrowser and are looking for a very simple proposal in pdf output, then this section is for you. OpenSolar has provided a template called the Energy Yield Report, which will produce something very similar to the proposal generated from Classic MapBrowser. While this is a good stop gap, we do hope that in time you’ll see just how much more the interactive proposal gives your customers. But for now, let’s take a look at the Energy Yield Report.

  1. You’ll find the Energy Yield report in Control Zone under Other > Document templates.
  2. Press CREATE DOCUMENT TEMPLATE. Give your template a name. You can simply call it Energy Yield Report.
  3. Select Energy Yield Report from the dropdown and press SAVE.
  4. To generate an energy yield report for a project, head to Projects Zone, bring the project into view, scroll all the way to the bottom and hit GENERATE FILE.
  5. From the dropdown select Energy Yield Report.
  6. Press GENERATE. When it’s ready, you’ll be able to click the DOWNLOAD button.

Now your simple report is ready to send to your customer.

Starting the interactive template

If you want an interactive proposal for your customer, we recommend you create one residential proposal template (and one commercial if this is relevant to your business). You'll also find out how you can add useful content into your proposal to showcase your business and give your company the edge over your competitors.

  1. In Control Zone under Purchase Experience, click Proposal Template.
  2. Now hit the + CREATE button at the top right or the CREATE PROPOSAL TEMPLATES button that appears if you have no proposal templates set up.
  3. Enter a title for your template, set it as default and press SAVE.
  4. Find your new template in the list and click the EDIT button.
  5. Slide the Is Default toggle to make this your default template.
  6. Dropdown Proposal Settings and enter your validity days.
  7. Check the elements and graphs that you want to display in the proposal. If you want to reposition any of this content in the proposal, just click the up or down arrow against the item.


  8. The case studies included here (by checking the box) are those you create a few steps down… You'll see that a bit further down.
  9. You can display up to four Featured Figures. If you want to change any you simply click the dropdown arrow and select the one you want. It will replace the original figure you clicked on
  10. Press SAVE.


There’s a lot more you can set up here. It’s a good idea to play with this and see how it looks by exporting to pdf. You can consult OpenSolar’s documentation for more detail. Check out the Extra Resources links on this page.

Information you set up outside of the template

Contract template

Go to Purchase Experience and under Contract Template is where you enter the customer terms and conditions. That appears on your proposal pdf or when the customer hits accept and pay proposal on the interactive version. 

Check out experience - yes, you can manage payments through OpenSolar!

Let’s not forget the important part – getting paid. Set up how you want your customer to pay you via the Checkout Experience (also under Purchase Experience).
If you want to accept credit card payments through OpenSolar via your interactive proposal, you would need to set up a Stripe account. It's a free account and OpenSolar’s support site has instructions on how to do this. You can find the link on this page.

  1. Enable the checkout
  2. Give your acceptance a name.
  3. Enter your Stripe account details.
  4. Press SAVE.

Not wanting online credit card payments? No problem, just toggle the Credit Card Stripe option off. 
For an offline payment enter your surcharges and your bank details. In the example shown in this screen shot, I've created a table in Word, included all the ways that the customer can pay me: bank details, PayPal, Bpay and pay ID, then just copied and pasted it into the Offline Payment Details box shown below. These details will appear on the proposal.



Case studies

Remember earlier you checked the box in the proposal template to include case studies? Here’s where you can enter that information: you can put in brief testimonials from your customers, link to videos and upload a photo of a successful job that you want the customer to see. Just go to Case Studies under Purchase Experience.

Utility tariffs and incentives

Under Other is OpenSolar’s utility tariff database. You can create your own if you need to. 
Back in the project zone is where you add the current tariff and the proposed tariff, to the project record, if you wish (this is touched on in the next module - where you prepare and send the proposal).

Beneath this you can set up incentives and opt to apply any of these automatically to a proposal, for example, if you’re always working in one state you will always apply that state’s incentive.

For example, you can edit STC point of sale discount:

  1. Click on EDIT, and then change the incentive price.
  2. Then you can choose if you want to have the incentive paid to the customer or to the installer. 
    There are five different types of incentives you can choose from. Read more about incentives on OpenSolar's support site. There's a link in the Extra Resources section of this module.

Document templates - tailor a suite of reports for your customers

You might want an energy yield report, an installation job pack, or an owner's manual. You just need to make sure that that document template is here (under Other > Document Templates) and you’ll be able to select it from the Projects Zone with the project in view.

Let’s say you want an owner's manual:

  1. Click CREATE DOCUMENT TEMPLATE.
  2. Give it a title and select Owners Manual from the list.
  3. Press SAVE.
  4. You can enter a description if you wish.
    These little sections shown in the screen shot below are placeholders. OpenSolar uses them to pull information from your account: for example business name will be your company name.



    There’s a fair bit of customisation you can do, and this is a more advanced topic than this session covers. You can find more information on OpenSolar’s support site.
  5. If you’re happy with that, press SAVE.

Lead generation

Under Lead Capture Forms you’ll find a little form that generates a unique html string that you can embed in your website or Facebook business page. Once deployed, this code will produce an embedded lead capture form that customers can use to get in touch. On the OpenSolar end, any customer feedback you get from this form pops into your projects for you to action or for you to assign to another team member. How cool is that?

Closing

Now you have a beautiful, professional and comprehensive solar proposal, and other cool assets that will wow your customer and give you the edge over your competitors. In the module “Send the Proposal” you’ll learn how you have the flexibility to send your proposal as a pdf or as an interactive web link which your customer can sign online.
While you’re there, you’ll find links to OpenSolar articles and ways to sign up to OpenSolar’s regular newsletter and deep dive webinars.




Module 5: Send the proposal from Nearmap on OpenSolar


VIDEO run time: 10 mins

This module is ideal for:

Nearmap on OpenSolar Admins and Team Members

At the end of this module you will:

  • Know how to send the proposal as online interactive, as well as pdf

  • Get customer signature and agreement to terms.

  • Receive payments.



Read the instructions

Your design’s done, your proposal template is ready, now all you need to do is shoot it off to your customer so they can sign it off and pay that deposit.
In this session we’re going to take a look at some final setup, and then what the proposal you’ll send to your customer actually looks like. You’ll see the different ways you can send it and what happens when they accept it.

Let’s go!

Check site details

Back in the Module “Design with Nearmap on OpenSolar”, you had the opportunity to do some admin before you started placing panels on the roof. Before you generate your customer’s proposal, you have another chance to get some customer and site details into the system.

  1. Head over to the Projects Zone and bring our project into view.
  2. To the right under Site Details, you can select useful characteristics of the project such as the type of roof, number of storeys, etc.
    As you saw in Module 2 - “Set things up”, any costs associated with theses characteristics will be calculated into your proposal.



  3. Scroll down to the Electricity Usage section to enter bill information and electricity usage. You can even enter hourly billing intervals, say for commercial jobs.
    If you don't have a bill, , it's fine, just leave it as default and OpenSolar will calculate based on the local usage data source.
  4. On the right, under Electricity Utility, choose the customer’s current tariff from OpenSolar’s database of tariff or create your own tariff if you need.



  5. Upload any spec sheets to the proposal by clicking the UPLOAD button towards to the bottom right. Drag and drop your file, head over to file tags and type in sales, choose "Sales Proposal -  Equipment Documentation", and that'll ensure that the spec sheet that you've attached will embed itself into your interactive proposal as a link, or it'll be a page within the PDF version of your proposal.

     

Take a look at the proposal

You can go straight from your design to the proposal: Click My Energy then Save & Continue.
If you have logged out you can either:

  • Click on My Energy and find your project.
  • From Projects Zone, click the Interactive proposal icon against your project.

The proposal URL you can see here is a secure shareable link. It's good to note your unique project ID at the end. At the top of the proposal is your logo and beneath that is a message to your customer from you (you enter this against the project itself in the Projects Zone). And then your company’s about us blurb, (which you set up in Company Basics in the set things up video.)


If you continue to the proposal, this is what it looks like for your customer.

  • Across the top are some key featured figures – OpenSolar has about 25 to 30 that you can choose from, but you can only display up to four.
  • To the right are your system options. If you’re offering multiple system designs, all you customer needs to do is click on a system, and the related information for that system (including the image) displays in the proposal body.
  • The customer can arrow through the images: the Vertical image and any Oblique images you designated at the design stage to appear on the proposal. 
  • Scrolling down a bit you’ll see the payment option. This example only has cash. If you had included other payment options, there’d be a dropdown for your customer to click and select their preferred payment method. 
  • The system hardware section displays the components of the system you click. Your customer can view details, specs and even play a promotional video of the selected hardware, if it’s included in the component setup.


  • System performance displays the seasonal solar output of the selected system. Click the link to view daily performance by season, week, day and weekend. Again, you add this drill down feature when you set up the proposal template.



  • The electricity bill savings sections lets you showcase to your customer the savings of their new solar system compared with their most recent power bill. And they can drill down to view details. If you don't have a previous bill for the customer, that's absolutely fine because OpenSolar will base its calculations and projections on the usage data source for that location. If you added any tariffs at design stage, they’ll be included here.


  • The Net Financial Impact is derived from the type of payment option that you've selected. In this example it’s the cash option. Your customer can drill into that information by launching the detailed annual financial table from the link. 



  • A neat animation displays how the systems works, including energy feedback into the grid. Here you can see the two systems, one with and one without battery.




All of these helpful graphs are customizable. So if you don't want to include any in your proposal, you can remove them from the proposal. Jut check back in on the previous module - “Create a Stunning Proposal”.


pdf version

If you don't also want to use the interactive version of the proposal, you can generate the proposal to PDF, and then just send it out by email.

Towards the bottom of the interactive proposal you'll find a Download Proposal button.

Check project details

Before you send that proposal to your customer, there are a few things you need to check.

  1. Head over to the Projects Zone.
  2. Select your project if you haven’t got it already in view.
    What you see here is a preview of what the customer is going to proceed with. On the top right hand corner here, you have a mini CRM and these little stages here are the stages of your project.
  3. As you've completed the system designs, you can click on that. This will date and timestamp that item to help you keep track of your project.
  4. On the left is the contact information. If you didn't put it in at the beginning, you can enter it at this stage, just by clicking the + button and entering the details. If you already have the customer in the system, you can "Assign from Existing Contact" and just start typing their name.
    Once you've assigned the contact across, hit SAVE and the green SEND INVITATION button will be enabled for you to send the interactive proposal to your customer.

Send the proposal to your customer

Once you've pressed SEND INVITATION your proposal is now with your customer. You'll receive an email confirmation that your customer has viewed it. 
Here’s where the CRM is super helpful, but not essential if you have other ways of managing your projects. We’ll take a quick look now. 

Over on the left is a Planned Activity section. You could set yourself a task with a reminder to follow up the customer.

  1. Press the + button then select “call (outbound)" then enter something like “Follow up the proposal”.
  2. Now you can create a task for yourself with a reminder by simply assigning this follow up to yourself and adding a schedule, say nine o'clock tomorrow morning, it might be a 15 minute conversation.
  3. Once you save there’ll be a reminder task for you in the CRM.

    Anything that you do will be recorded here in the project history. And then once you're going ahead with the sale, the following items will be populated for you: the assigned team member, the valid until, any tags assigned to your project, the contract date, the sold system, any notes and any transactions that have happened with your sale.


Accepting the proposal

It’s a brilliant proposal, and our customer is going to accept. Here’s how they’d do it. From the interactive proposal, all they need to do is press Accept Proposal. After this a dialog appears summarising the amounts payable and presenting the terms and conditions. Then they simply read your terms and conditions, enter their credit card details, sign off and press Confirm and Pay. If you don’t offer credit card payments, or the customer prefers another payment method, they can do an offline payment by entering bank details, PayPal, BPAY or pay ID before they sign off and confirm and pay.

Closing

Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to set up Nearmap on OpenSolar for your business, how to use Nearmap imagery to create an accurate design and how to create and send an impressive proposal. We are not done yet. We’ve saved the coolest to last. Please have a look at Module 6, where you'll learn how, with Nearmap’s 3D digital surface model, you can create your solar design in 3D and analyse the shadowing on your systems any time of day, any day of the year.




Module 6: Design in 3D with Nearmap on OpenSolar


VIDEO run time: 10:15 mins

This module is ideal for:

Nearmap on OpenSolar Admins and Team Members

At the end of this module you will:

  • Understand what DSM is
  • Know how to design in 3D
  • Understand how to perform shading analysis on a design and how to add obstructions.



Read the instructions

Using Nearmap’s digital surface model and OpenSolar 3D, you can see exactly where the shadows fall on your solar panels any month of the year, any time of day. 
In this module you’re going to discover how to switch on and use OpenSolar 3D, including analysing shading and accessing accurate and detailed performance data.

What is DSM?

With Nearmap’s Oblique Addon, you also have access to Nearmap’s DSM. DSM is our 3D digital surface model content – available at the same high coverage, high accuracy and update frequency as our Oblique imagery. DSM represents the earth’s surface and includes all objects on it. It contains elevation data that allows us to automate a 3D model of the roof for super accurate shading and production estimates.

OpenSolar 3D

You can choose to do all your system designs using 3D. Under the hood with 3D, OpenSolar uses the SAM (or System Advisory Model), which allows more detailed and accurate performance predictions and cost of energy estimates than the PVWatts calculator used in 2D design.

With 3D you can:

  • Add optimisers and micro-inverters to your design
  • Add bifacial modules
  • Account for inverter clipping
  • Factor in the temperature coefficient of the panels.

In practice, if you start in 3D design mode, you need to keep designing in 3D to have access to the shadow analysis tool.

How about we take a look?

  1. Head to Projects Zone and create a NEW PROJECT then enter the address – it'll default to residential.
  2. If you want, you can enter contact details. Then click CREATE & DESIGN and you'll land in Studio Zone with the address imagery loaded.
  3. Make sure you are in Full Design Mode.

    You can only access 3D design in Full Design Mode. If you can't remember how to do this, check back in on Module 3 - Design with OpenSolar.

  4. As your project loads, you’ll see the oblique thumbnails and the vertical thumbnail across the bottom (as you’ve seen before).

Activate OpenSolar 3D by sliding the toggle. When you do this, three things happen:

  1. A 3D DSM model loads, if the address is in our 3D coverage area (You can check our 3D coverage areas using the interactive coverage map on our website. Go to nearmap.com/coverage)
  2. You see the DSM thumbnail alongside the other thumbnails.
  3. The system advisory model is enabled. The System advisory model, or SAM, is a software model for renewable energy systems. It calculates energy output differently from the standard OpenSolar interface.



The first thing you notice is the DSM looks like a melted scene. That’s okay. It’s meant to look like that. Besides, you don’t need accuracy down the sides of structures, just on the tops where the panels are. And, don’t worry, your customers don’t get to see the Digital Surface Model. It’s only there for your design and shadow analysis.

You can view the roof from different angles. You can look and see if there are any obstructions. 

  • Right-click into the image and then drag your mouse around to rotate the scene.
  • Roll your mouse wheel to zoom in and out, or use the - and + buttons at the very bottom right below the DRAWING TOOLS button.

Place panels

You’ll find that placing panels using 3D is a rather automatic process, since the digital surface model is, in fact, a 3D model of the roof. So size, slope, azimuth, obstructions are all there. You just need to check that you’re placing the panels on the right roof facet – on the north facing roof in the southern hemisphere and the south facing roof in the northern hemisphere. Not sure where north or south is? Check the compass at the top right. 

To lay the panels, all you do is you follow the usual process of clicking plus panels. OpenSolar automatically detects the slope and the azimuth that you're working on. You can simply just place the panels individually, or by scrolling across. 

If you need to measure the roof facet, say to determine setback, click DRAWING TOOLS > ROOF, then draw out the facet by clicking at each vertex. If you can't remember how to do this, check back in on Module 3 - Design with Nearmap on OpenSolar.

In the left-hand panel you can adjust the X and Y gaps, as well as the clearance. Clearance is the distance between the roof surface and the bottom panel surface. This dimension is more obvious when working with 3D.

Check the design is aligned to the 3D model

To check whether your design is aligned to the roof, click on the Vertical thumbnail. Note that, given 3D design is enabled, you won’t be able to edit anything in this vertical view (you can only edit in your 3D DSM view). In this case you can see the panels and roof outline are not aligned to the view. To fix this, click ALIGN from the bottom right and drag the map until the panels and outline match the roof image. Click ALIGN again to exit align mode.


Select images to display in proposal

Now check Show Customer to include this image in your proposal and the thumbnail will now be flagged accordingly. If you want to include another image in your proposal, for example, a South-east view, click the South-east thumbnail. Note that you can't include the DSM view in the proposal. This view is for your design and analysis only.

Shading analysis

Now that those panels are on the roof, you can easily determine if the property is a good solar candidate by doing a quick shading analysis. 

  1. Make sure you're looking at the DSM content. If not, click on the DSM thumbnail.
  2. Click on the panel group.
  3. On the toolbar, select the Shading dropdown. Here you see the shading analysis tool. 

This graph shows the times of day that the sun is up, and then the months of the year. So in the screen shot below you can see that the customer’s roof is pretty much getting sun 100% of the day, all year round. Happy days. This is the ideal solar customer! 


You can click in any time-slot in that coloured chart and you’ll see the path of the sun’s rays. Each ray is shown per 6 cells of a panel, so the information is very detailed. The colours reflect percentage bands of sun's rays, with red being no sun, and different oranges and yellows being varying percentages of sun. Green is 100% sun. As you’d expect, you see different shadows at 5pm than at 8am.
You can drill into the yellow times and see what's causing that obstruction. Right-click, zoom around, maybe pan out, and see if you can identify what's causing the obstruction on this roof. In this example, I've clicked the yellow "52" at 7am in November. Here you see that the red lines are representing the sun's rays that would otherwise hit the solar panels but are obstructed by the other roof section



Predict vegetation

As these panels are 20-year systems, you can try to project whether any vegetation might become an obstruction in the future. Take this bush in the screenshot below. You can effectively turn it into a tree.


  1. Click DRAWING TOOLS > TREE and place the tree onto the scene. Allow the system to recalculate.
  2. Back in the shadow analysis you can see those red rays. They're the rays that should be going to the panels but are obstructed be that tree in the winter months, in the middle of the day.



Now you can have a conversation with your customer advising them them the tree will need to be pruned so they can make the most of their solar system. 

Other details

System Design

With OpenSolar 3D, you can perform some detailed analysis on the system generation, consumption and export to grid. Just click the Show Detail button at the top of the toolbar. Use the slider to view the chart data throughout the months of the year.

Once you have 3D on, OpenSolar will warn you if the inverter in your system design is oversized.

System Losses

Click the System Losses button beneath the data chart to analyse system losses from shading, reflection, snow, wiring and much more – both overall and per inverter, if applicable. And your calculations account for inverter clipping and the temperature coefficient of the panels.

Your proposal and any reports you generate for projects you create in 3D will pull in the more accurate data derived from the SAM model, rather than the PVWatt data.


If you have any existing projects not modelled with 3D, calculations for those will still be shown in PV Watts. You can switch them to 3D by dropping down Advanced Settings in the toolbar and selecting OpenSolar 3D.

Finally, it might be helpful to know that OpenSolar 3D is a design tool offering superior data and calculations, but at present there’s no way of sharing those cool visualisations with your customer in a proposal. It is currently for your eyes only.

Closing

Pretty cool, huh? So now you can unleash the power of 3D into your solar designs. And this brings us to the end of our Nearmap on OpenSolar getting started series.
Thanks for sticking with us through these modules. They are here on the Knowledge Hub for you to revisit whenever you need. You might want to work through them again as you set up Nearmap on OpenSolar for your own business. And remember there are heaps of resources on OpenSolar’s support site as well as on Nearmap’s Knowledge Hub.




Have you completed all 6 modules?

Please take a couple of minutes to rate this series and leave feedback. It'll help us understand what you need and improve our courses. In the near future we'll provide a post-course questionnaire.




Resources

Got more questions? We've got answers

We want you to feel at home with your new Nearmap on OpenSolar subscription. Explore this Knowledge Hub for quick answers or more in-depth technical articles. Or, check out our partner product docs on the OpenSolar Help Centre. You can also schedule some face time with your customer success manager. We’re here to help — don’t be shy!