UPowr launches fully-digital sales platform to offer a better experience of buying solar

An Australian company is out to improve the customer experience for households purchasing rooftop solar, launching a new fully-digital sales platform that seeks to short-cut the use of high-pressure sales tactics, while informing customers of the benefits of solar.

Sydney based UPowr has launched a new rooftop solar sales platform, that has been designed to provide households with more information about their solar power options, including location-specific modelling of potential system performance.

The UPowr Platform draws upon information provided by prospective customers to produce detailed quotes, uses modelling to understand a household’s electricity use patterns, and accounts for solar performance in specific locations, including by taking into account potential shading impacts.

The platform is intended to provide a digital experience for customers, reflecting a wider trend in other industries, where most sales are completed entirely online and no longer require a face-to-face sales process.

UPowr says that the platform has the ability to provide personalised quotes for rooftop solar systems, as well as allowing the company to manage the entire installation process through the platform, supporting the optimisation of supply chains.

According to UPowr CEO Stu Philpot, the platform has been designed to ensure potential customers are fully informed about their rooftop solar offer, including the costs and benefits of having a system installed, and was developed to eliminate situations where unsolicited sales approaches see high-pressure sales tactics used to get a customer to sign on to purchase an unwanted or suboptimal system.

“It’s amazing that we’re in 2020 and people are still knocking on doors and spam calling customers to sell new energy technology,” Philpot said.

“We’re able to buy so many big purchases online these days – whether it be furniture, appliances, white goods, or even accommodation experiences through Airbnb. We have an opportunity to make home solar a similar experience.”

UPowr plats to launch the platform initially into Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, and has already signed deals with a number of leading electricity retailers to use the UPowr platform to offer their existing customers the option of purchasing a rooftop solar system.

UPowr, which was co-founded by Stu Philpot and Daniel Friedman who had worked together at a major electricity retailer, sees the Australian rooftop solar market continuing to grow, as the falling cost of solar power and higher retail electricity costs have made installing a system a financially attractive option for virtually all households.

UPowr CIO & Co-founder, Daniel Friedman, CEO & Co-founder, Stu Philpot, Chief Customer Officer, Kiya Taylor.

“While residential solar has been around for some time, Australia is now seeing the switch from early adopters into mass market,” Philpot said.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator estimates that at least 6 million households in Australia will install solar in the coming years. 2.5 million have installed already over the past decade through offline methods – we want to make the next 3.5 million experiences modern, personalised and empowering for homeowners.”

UPowr sees the installation of rooftop solar as a gateway for many households to investing in other energy measures within homes, including the addition of battery storage.

A recently published study on demand response participation found that households that had installed rooftop solar were also more likely to be active participants in demand response initiatives.

“Solar is the starting point for many households looking to do something differently, whether it be for financial, environmental or independence reasons. This made it a natural starting point for us as well – but it’s not the end goal,” Philpot added.

“Within the next six months we’ll be adding in batteries, orchestration plans and maintenance products. We see this as the beginning of being a key player in a more decentralised energy system.”

The launch of the UPowr platform follows the development of the online toolkit developed by OpenSolar, which has also sought to improve the way customers engaged in the rooftop solar sales process and allowing for better designed rooftop solar installations.

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