For many installing solar photovoltaics is a great idea in theory, but when it comes to deciding which installer and products to use the prospect can be a little daunting. Easing the UK public into the process, CompareMySolar.co.uk offers prospective energy generators the opportunity to assess the potential of their roof without having to go through the lengthy process of getting custom quotes.
CompareMySolar.co.uk offers a quick and simple overview of system prices as well as highlighting the experience of local installers and demonstrating details about the ROI for the selected roof. The comparison is based on the unique roof selected by the customer by suing Google maps. Local installers are then listed with their price, what the ROI would be, how much experience they have, what warranties they offer and what the system specifications would be. If interested, the customer can then request a detailed quote of site visit from up to three chosen solar installers.
Speaking with company Director, Gertjan van der Goot, I discovered where the idea for CompareMySolar.co.uk came from, and how it has progressed since its inception in 2010.
Gertjan first dreamt up the solar comparison concept when watching a BBC program which outlined the amount of energy needed to power a house each year, and that fossil fuels were becoming less plausible as a long term energy solution. From all of the renewable energy options discussed in the program, solar power seemed the most attractive. Gertjan quickly convinced his business partner, Stefan Ruiter that there was a need for a solar comparison website, and so they both got to work conducting market research among installers, speaking to market experts and customers while developing a business model.
By the second half of 2010 the partners gave up their day jobs and began developing the CompareMySolar concept full-time. “We got together for several weeks to draw out and iterate a detailed design and looked for a capable coder, which was hard to find. We had some savings to pay for the development as well as the first months of marketing costs for the site,” explained Gertjan.
“The developer did an extremely good job in iterating and creating the website and was a real thought-partner, which is needed in case of a start-up. Meanwhile we sold the idea to solar installers in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK and got over 30 installers signed up for launch.”
“We are very happy with the result, although it was delayed slightly. Before launch we tested the website extensively with all installers and did further iterations based on the feedback,” he continued.
CompareMySolar is now up-and-running, attracting over 10,000 unique visitors in the first three months of business. The website has a growing network of installers which cover all areas of England, Wales and some areas of Scotland. To date, CompareMySolar has helped over 100 customers to find the right installer, and as a result provided business to many installation companies.
The website is free to use and has launched in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK.