Top 4 best solar design software for solar installers to increase sales

So you're looking for the best solar design software? Look no further! We've rounded up the top 4 options to help make your job easier.

February 20, 2023
So you're looking for the best solar design software? Look no further! We've rounded up the top 4 options to help make your job easier.
Lucian Wu
Lucian Wu

There are so many solar design software available that there is no “best” out there. It depends on what designs you do, who your customers are, how many quotes you need to send out, etc.

Solar installers may want a good solar software that:

  • Improves sales team conversion rate
  • Saves time to design photovoltaic projects and the entire sales process
  • Produce great looking solar proposals
  • Matches the solar module with a compatible inverter
  • Help land more deals

Below are 4 such software that I’ve used, and have written individual reviews.

I wanted to review Solar Plus and Aurora Solar, but was unfortunately not given the opportunity to.

Keep reading to find out which design software is suitable for your company.

You will find some tables below with some symbols:

  • ✓ means that this feature is included at no extra design costs
  • $ means it is an additional premium feature 

Which solar design software is the easiest to use?

Most solar installers would find Pylon to be the easiest software to use. The interface was the most modern looking. Navigation was simple to understand and the general feel of the software was that it is built like a modern SAAS (Software as a service) product.

Solar Proof Open Solar Pylon Helioscope
Nearmap $ $ $
Bing - - -
Google 3D - - -
User Interface Outdated Outdated Modern Outdated
Snap to grid -
Batteries $ -
Panel Strings - -
Error 6.67% 7.17% 10.28% 12.36%

Solar Proof and Open Solar are also not far behind. Solar panels snapped easily to the grid, searching was easy, and changing existing designs a breeze. This can lead to producing rapid proposals.

The only issue I had was with Helioscope. placements of solar panels are automatically allocated based on the area you provided. This proved most problematic on residential rooftops, because the installations are generally smaller.

On the other hand, Helioscope is by far the quickest to design for commercial solar projects or when the solar system is in excess of 50kW. The is because solar module quantity for commercial solar projects are far greater. The larger the system, the more efficient Helioscope becomes.

Accuracy of Energy Production

In terms of accuracy, Solar Proof was the most accurate with an error rate of 6.67%. You can read more about it here. This is followed closely by Open Solar. The highest error was Helioscope at 12.36%.

I have to caveat this by saying that this test was constricted to the following:

  • 1 location
  • 1 solar panel array
  • 1 year (01/01/2021 - 31/12/2021)
  • The design was residential, not a commercial solar project

If I had access to more data, the rankings may prove to be different.

Which solar design tool has the best solar proposals?

The ultimate measurement of the “best” proposal should be the conversion rate for solar companies. 

However, I don’t have that kind of data. If any of you have access to that, I’d love to find out.

Some of the other important features of proposals are:

  • E-signatures
  • Custom Branding

E signatures are vital

E Signature

Proposals that allow customers to sign online saves a lot of hassle. Previously, customers need to print out the contract, sign it, and then return it. But doing this online speeds that process and you will forever keep the copy.

Custom Branding 

You don’t want your customer to mistake your solar business with another because your proposal looked the same.

At the very least, your proposal should allow you to embed your logo and your colour scheme. 

Solar Proof, Open Solar and Pylon all include this.

Which design software is cheapest?

Most software charges flat monthly fees. They are easy to understand because that's how most companies work now. Pylon charges a little differently.

Solar installers first buy a bunch of credits and use them whenever they like.

The table below shows the prices of each quote, assuming each quote is an average 6kW solar system.

Solar Proof Open Solar Pylon Helioscope
Cost per quote per month
1 quote - total 6kW Free Free $4.16 $135.00
10 quotes - total 60kW $8.00 Free $3.85 $13.50
100 quotes - total 600kW $2.60 Free $3.70 $1.35
1000 quotes - total 6000kW $1.79 Free $3.70 $0.14
Cost per quote per month with Nearmap
1 quote - total 6kW Free $250.00 $11.99 $385.00
10 quotes - total 60kW $8.00 $25.00 $11.32 $38.50
100 quotes - total 600kW $2.60 $2.50 $11.11 $3.85
1000 quotes - total 6000kW $1.79 $0.25 $11.11 $0.39

As you can see, it is hard to beat Open Solar when they offer a free product. As I said in my Open Solar Review, they charge their manufacturing partners rather than solar installers. 

The problem with Open Solar is that NearMap does not come free. You will need a separate subscription with NearMap (around $250 AUD as monthly fees). 

The question is, “Do you need NearMap at all?”

The solar software with the best satellite images, eg. Nearmap, showed up the clearest.

This is a comparison  between the Google Maps (Free) and Near Map (Premium)

NearMap vs Google Maps

That depends on you. Some solar companies believe that it is crucial to have the latest and best resolution satellite images as possible.

Pylon charges 100 credits per Nearmap per project, which is the price you pay for 2 quotes. However, they also licence high resolution non-NearMap imagery which may be adequate.

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Which solar design tool has the best integrations?

Solar Proof Open Solar Pylon Helioscope
Xero - send invoice - -
Xero - check for payment - - -
Plenti - - -
Brighte - - -
Smart Ease - - -
Solaris - - -

Xero integration

Solar Proof can integrate with Xero to send invoices, but Pylon is the only one that knows whether the invoice has been paid. 

To me, knowing this within the software is important in running your business. 

Financing Options 

Solar installers may may want to give customers different financing options.

In the past, you would do this manually.

But Open Solar makes your life easier by including any of Plenti, Brighte or Energy Ease options in the proposal for your customer to choose from. Your customer can have the option of paying upfront, or monthly fees over a few years time.

Which solar design software has the best CRM features?

Solar Proof Open Solar Pylon Helioscope
Customer management -
Embed lead generation - - -
API - - -
Webhooks - - -

The aim for all solar installation software is to be the end-to-end solution for solar installers. From when a new lead arrives, to getting paid, to finishing the installation. 

Solar Proof offers basic customer management. Address, contact info, but has a calendar showing bookings.

Open Solar takes it to the next level by offering a form that you can then embed on your website. A successful form submission sends all the information straight into Open Solar as a new customer. The only downside is that the look and feel of the form is not customisable.

Pylon doesn’t have an embed form, but allows your web developer to integrate it with API and Webhooks, which opens the doors for many more options.

Single Line Diagrams

Single Line Diagrams is important for the installation teams, maintenance personnel and electrical grid operators to understand how the solar system works. They provide technical information about the solar system that helps them make decisions on installation, operation and safety.

Only Pylon includes this as part of their software.

Missing Features - Electric Bill upload

What's missing is the ability to upload an electric bill. It would be great software to analyse a bill automatically, design photovoltaic projects based on address, roof space and consumption. Perhaps in the future. That would truly be the next phase for generating rapid proposals.


Choosing a solar installation software for your business is difficult. There is no one size fits all. It depends on the stage of your business and your personal preferences.

But the good news is that you can always change. 

If you're like most other solar professionals, and you care about generating more sales, then using it is better than not using it.

If accuracy or clear imagery is important, use Solar Proof.

If your installations are medium to large on a regular basis, use Helioscope.

If you don’t want to pay for anything at all, use Open Solar.

If you want a simple and easy experience, use Pylon.

What are you waiting for?

Book a Free Strategy Session and find out how your solar company can be more profitable