With over 20,000 customers, Sunrun is the nation’s leading residential solar power leasing company. Sunrun makes solar easy and affordable by offering solar power as a service, also known as Sunrun Total Solar. Sunrun purchases the panels and takes care of everything from start to finish, so customers don’t have to worry about high upfront costs, installation, or how panels operate.
“We recognize Cloudforest’s contribution as key to the great success of the Solar Design Tool.”
Gary Wayne, Principal
Solar Design Platform Sunrun, Inc.
Solar Design Tool
Cloudforest worked with Sunrun to create the Solar Design Tool. The Solar Design Tool was designed to make it possible for Sunrun employees and employees of Sunrun’s partners to quickly and accurately design solar power systems without requiring a site visit.
Cloudforest worked with Sunrun to create an early prototype of a kiosk application that puts the Solar Design Tool directly into customer’s hands when they visit major hardware stores. The prototype made use of a 40″ touchscreen and was implemented with WebGL and HTML5 technology.
Cloudforest collaborated with Sunrun over the course of two years to produce the following deliverables as part of the process of creating a truly user centered and highly usable application.
The Solar Designer is the primary persona who will use the Solar Design Tool in their every day tasks. By defining and humanizing this role, we were able to create a product tailored to its users expectations and needs.
Once our personas were clearly defined, Cloudforest worked with our Sunrun partners to define a clear set of scenarios. These scenarios informed the project with a clear sense of what tasks needed to be completed by which users as well as the priority of those tasks.
Customer Experience Map
To help all stakeholders and employees at Sunrun understand the full sequence of events that occur for a solar installation to successfully achieve completion, we created a customer journey map. The map captured all the steps a customer goes through to install solar on their house and communicates the emotional state and circumstances surrounding each phase of the sales process.
User flow diagrams were created in a swim-lane format to help stakeholders understand how the installation process varied across different partners and situations.
User Interface Specification
The major deliverable for this project was a highly detailed user interface specification. As a modern HTML5 application intended for both desktop and iPad usage, with many subtle user interactions, a thorough specification document was absolutely necessary as a record of design decisions for the entire team. Cloudforest produced and then iterated on this document as the key artifact that united the team vision with design and development efforts.
No project can be considered user centered without actually engaging users in the design process. To that end, Cloudforest conducted several rounds of usability testing during product development. The results of our usability studies then informed subsequent application changes and improvements.
High Praise from Solar Design Tool Users
“Design Tool could change the way solar projects are developed. It is the most impressive tool I have seen to date and could significantly reduce Solar EPC costs.” Kelcy Pegler Jr., Co-Founder Roof Diagnostics Solar
“Love the tool and presentation. The last time I was this excited was when I joined the solar industry!” Matthew Holloway, Design Engineering Manager REC Solar
“The reps who missed the training demo are hounding me to gain access. They have seen it and think it will save time designing systems, cut down on errors and change orders and also serve as a sales tool in the field. “
Jason Bowers, Acro Account Manager Sunrun, Inc.
“This is 10 times better than anything we have. This has the potential to change the way solar is sold. I recommend we embrace the platform and help move it forward.” Darren Kelly, Area Manager- Northern California HelioPower, Inc.
“I am using it for all of my projects to sketch out a design and look at shading. So far the comparisons have been very close.” Rick Coven – Sales HelioPower, Inc.
“This is a great tool for remote design and one that will be highly teachable to our proposal team. I just took it for a spin and it works great.” Ryan Fitzsimmons, Design Manager Next Step Living