This post was originally published on the Mosaic Blog.
This post is part of a Mosaic series profiling startups that are part of SfunCube, an epicenter for solar entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. SfunCube is an incubator and accelerator to create “Solar for Universal Need,” uniting solar entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors in a solar-powered hub of innovation and job creation. SfunCube currently houses 10 companies and nonprofits at its office in Oakland, California’s Jack London Square.
If you’re shopping online for flight tickets or travel lodging, what’s one of the first things that crosses your money-savvy mind?
If you’re like most people, you want to know how the product you’re buying compares to other products on the market. Think Kayak or Expedia, two companies that have grown significantly due to consumers’ desires to know what product has the best value.
When it comes to solar, with an ever-growing number of developers trying to sell you a new rooftop solar installation, you may be wondering if there’s a service that can simplify your home solar buying experience. Well, now there is. It’s called Sunible.com, a Bay Area startup that is on a mission to radically simplify the process of going solar.
Sunible.com aims to bring solar and its benefits to everyone by helping people save money when they decide to put panels on their roof. By helping you understand and compare your home solar options, and by helping you select the best possible installer, Sunible.com is with you every step of the way, making your personal transition to clean energy as easy as possible. By the way, did we mention their assistance is free of charge?
Yep, that’s right. Sunible.com provides a free service to customers and charges installers a flat fee regardless of who a customer decides to go with or how big of a system they want to install. Sunible.com has no vested interest in choosing one installer over the other; they simply want to give everyone the help and advice they need to go solar!
Co-founders Stephen Torres and Dhanur Grandhi started Sunible.com in early 2013 and launched a pilot in Fresno in June. They are already making the process of going solar as easy and painless as possible for people all over California, and they plan to expand soon to the rest of the U.S.
Torres spent years on the road selling solar to hundreds of homeowners and built PV Solar Report, California’s most trusted source of solar market data, but he wanted to do more to help people work through the confusing experience of going solar.
“For years I was asking myself, ‘What can I do that will impact a lot of people?’ And the answer I found was solar energy,” says Torres. “I went from solar sales to founding PV Solar Report, which publishes data and news for solar companies. But I wanted to do more. And we kept getting calls and emails from homeowners who wanted information about local solar installers. So we started Sunible.com to help them.“
Grandhi, similarly, is obsessed with making solar simple. “Sunible is trying to solve two major problems in the home solar industry today: low awareness and high buying complexity,” he says.
“Everyone knows what a solar panel is, but not everyone is aware that they can save a ton of money on their power bills or that solar panels are built to last for decades. The other problem is complexity. Many of the 300,000 ‘early adopters’ went solar the hard way–with their own calculations, comparisons, and conversations. Over 15 million homes in the U.S. can benefit from solar today, but not a lot of them will ever consider it if we don’t fix the awareness and complexity problems.”
Both Torres and Grandhi have recently received MBAs and have passed on more profitable business opportunities to pursue their passion for simplifying home solar.
“It takes most people months from when they first start thinking about solar to actually having it installed on their home–if they get there at all,” says Torres. “Imagine if, instead, there was an easy way to find and compare options and companies. Then think about how great it would be if you had someone to help you through the entire process, regardless of which company you chose. That’s what we’re doing at Sunible.com.“
While still less than a year old, Sunible is already starting to help people through the process of going solar and sees huge potential to help many more. Very few others provide the services similar to Sunible.com’s, and as the US PV market is expected to increase more than 200 percent by 2015, the company is looking to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity in helping millions of Americans go solar.
The founders are excited about this business opportunity, but what’s even more exciting in their eyes is the chance to help so many homeowners achieve energy independence.
“We’re on a mission to radically simplify the home solar buying experience, to bring energy independence and savings to the average homeowner,” says Torres. “You could say we’re empowering ordinary people to do something extraordinary–to make a choice about where they get their power.“
If you’re thinking about whether or not solar is right for you, get multiple comparison no-cost, no-commitment quotes from Sunible.com today.