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Top 2 Ways Automated Solar Letters Reduce Project Soft Costs

Did you know soft costs have been found to account for up to 65 percent of solar project costs? Soft costs, or the non-hardware costs associated with going solar, include costs such as permitting, financing, and installing solar, and the expenses solar installers incur to pay suppliers and acquire new customers. Although the total cost of residential solar in the U.S. has declined over time, the proportion of soft costs on projects has grown over the past decade, according to SEIA and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. Below we cover the top two ways automated solar letters can reduce critical soft costs on your residential solar projects. 

1. Reduce permitting time 

Permitting is a key challenge when it comes to lowering solar project soft costs due to the fact that the permit requirements for solar installations vary greatly across jurisdictions. There are in fact 18,000 jurisdictions and 3,000 utilities across 50 U.S. states, all of which have their own protocols and processes when it comes to permitting solar projects. A typical residential solar project can take several months to receive a permit. 

By using automated solar letters, you can have your letter stamped within just one hour as opposed to a half-day or longer. The reason automated solar letters can be completed so efficiently is because information from the Applied Technology Council (ATC) is automatically pulled and integrated into each solar letter, rather than having to gather information from multiple sources. Once the ATC information is added to the letter, calculations are automatically performed, and the letter is then sealed and sent out to the customer. The faster you can complete solar letters, the lower your project's soft costs will be. By expediting project completion times, you will also be able to execute more solar projects in less time.

2. Save 40% on engineering expenses 

Automated solar letters provide the same result as full plan sets for about 40 percent of the cost. These solar letters have all the information in one single organized matter so that the building reviewer can look at them and understand all necessary data in order to provide safe, expedited, and accurate approval of project plans. The engineering costs are significantly lower with automated solar letters because only one person needs to cover the work that would otherwise require three staff members. Due to their high accuracy, automated solar letters such as those offered by, also drastically reduce the chance of plan revisions, which can be costly in and of itself.

If you have any questions about how you can reduce solar project soft costs using automated solar letters, contact an expert at Solar Letters. 


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