PMax’s online solar tools increase productivity, decrease cost and accelerate solar adoption

PMax Solar

PMax Solar is an online solar corporation which leverages in-depth technological expertise to enable the widespread adoption of solar electricity at the most competitive cost to the customer. We provide access to a novel cloud-based online platform and online solar tools for optimized system design and financial cost-benefit evaluation allowing for highest level of transparency. PMax Solar offers something wonderful for anyone and everyone interested in solar.

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Online Solar Tools

Over two decades of solar energy expertise allows us to constantly develop and customize online solar tools and APIs to simplify the evaluation process of a propertys’ solar potential, cost and savings analysis associated with solar installation.

For Whom

We develop solutions for solar customers and businesses who are directly or indirectly involved in adoption of solar industry globally. Our current products can help homeowners, solar installers, solar loan providers, solar insurance providers and realtors.

Benefits of Our Online Solar Tools


For homeowners and solar customers


Free and comprehensive customer education

As a visitor, you can quickly learn about the benefits and existing incentives for going solar at your location. The website allows you to easily compare and customize different solar financing schemes and associated savings. You can use pmaxsolar.com from virtually anywhere, anytime and using any device as long as you have internet connection. Homeowners looking to go solar can choose how much solar they want, from 0% to 100%, or choose how much electric bill they want to pay after going solar. You can also find out how different panel technologies affect your required roof area for maximum savings and the total system size you will need and much more.


Free Solar Cost and Savings Report and a free account at pmaxsolar.com

Homeowners can get an instant, personalized and detailed cost and savings estimate from going solar (together with estimates of home value increase and carbon footprint reduction for any panel technology) without having to sign-up. If interested, you can get your free solar report emailed to you after signing-up. In addition, you get a complementary report based on your actual roof within 24 hours, receive up to 3 customized installation quotes from qualified local installers and get a free online account to use proprietary roof calculator tools and compare installer quotes.


For Installers and other Solar Businesses


Get powered by PMax Solar

Sign-up and access online solar tools on pmaxsolar.com or integrate our APIs to your own website. Select best solar module technology for any location using APIs to calculate Yearly Energy Production from any solar panel. Calculate your customers optimum system size. Empower your customers to make educated decision; provide them with their estimated solar savings from various financial options. Let your customers have a say on the final layout using our panel array layout tool powered by Google map.


High Quality and Affordable Customer Acquisition Service

Sign-up and easily find and connect with verified customers exploring rooftop solar. Know beforehand the estimated solar system size the customer will need. Know the customer’s zip code and distance from you. Transact through a highly secured online payment portal (STRIPE). Pay a fair price for customer contact information (price based on system size and age of lead)


What We Offer


Customizable API Solutions:


Yearly Energy Production and Optimum System size calculation with inputs as:

 - Location (Zip)

 - Average monthly electric bill of user

 - Number of sections of a roof

 - Tilt, azimuth and area of each section

 - Panel parameters (STC power, panel length and width, panel degradation rate, temp coeff.)

Yearly Solar Savings from different financial option with input as:

 - User location (ZIP)

 - Average monthly electric bill

 - Cost of installation

 - Years of installation

 - Bank loan parameters (down-payment, interest rate, loan term)

 - PPA parameters ($/KWHr, rate of increase, PPA term), upfront cost

 - Lease parameters ($/KW monthly, rate of increase, lease term)

Acquired customer (lead) sales closure with STRIPE based transactions with following inputs:

 - Customer zip and proximity from the zip

 - Customer system size requirements

Customizable Online Tools


- Energy Yield for solar panels with user input STC parameters

- Maximum solar savings for a customer from different financial options (bank loan, lease, ppa)

- Solar savings for customers from fully customizable financial options provided by installers and based on selected sections of a roof

- Instant and roof-optimized solar report for prospective solar customers

Roof Area Applications


- Google map based roof area application

- Tilt, azimuth and area of different sections of a roof

- 3D Panel layout based on input panel dimensions and user selected sections of a roof

icon_source_up_white-01Email: info@pmaxsolar.com

Website: pmaxsolar.com

Residential solar installation industry: Major short-term threat and long-term challenge

The U.S. residential solar industry has experienced phenomenal growth on the back of fast decreasing solar panel costs and solar-friendly incentives and regulations, both at the local and federal levels. For this trend to continue one major short-term threat needs to be avoided while another long-term challenge needs to be overcome.

On the short-term: Solar Trade Case

There is one major threat looming over the U.S. residential solar installation business which has the potential to effectively reverse the upward market trend seen so far. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is currently expected to decide on a trade dispute case involving two bankrupt U.S. solar panel manufacturing companies. The original petitioner Suniva, joined later by SolarWorld, argue that they have been “seriously injured” by imports. They propose a blanket tariff on all foreign made solar cells and modules. What they propose are duties of 40 cents per watt on imported cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on modules. This is to be compared to some ~30-40 cents per watt for current module pricing. The petition could result in doubling or tripling the cost of solar panels used in residential solar. A cost of $3 per watt for a roof-top installation could easily become $3.8 per watt, an increase of 27% that rooftop-installers will have to pass to customers! If the U.S. ITC agrees with the petitioners, it will be up to President Donald Trump to decide on what the remedy should be. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and related industries have expressed their strong objection. Nevertheless, it will probably take an outrage at a much larger scale to protect the U.S. residential solar installation industry.  The decision of the ITC is expected to be announced around the end of September.

On the long-term: Customer Acquisition

Homepage Image of pmaxsolar

Homepage image of pmaxsolar.com

Although hardware costs of rooftop solar systems have been coming down steadily, soft-costs, especially customer acquisition costs have been stubbornly high. In some cases, they have been increasing. This could be attributed to many reasons such as non-optimal business models, rush for market share at the expense of profitability, capital intensive sales approaches etc. Debates (or non-debates depending on how you see them) whether climate change is happening or whether solar can save you money have created psychological barriers to the expansion of solar which in-turn make customer acquisition even trickier. Add to that unsatisfied solar adopters who didn’t see the expected savings from their solar installation due to high system cost, poor installation practices or poorly performing panels are warning friends, family and neighbors from going solar. Besides these unfortunate experiences and some ideological barriers, incumbent industries such as utilities have also fought hard to resist rooftop solar regulations and incentives every step of the way. When all these challenges are combined with self-inflicted wounds where major residential solar players are pushing customers towards financial or hardware choices that benefit their business’s short term goals at the expense of their customers best interest, it is hardly surprising that customer acquisition costs remain high.

If the residential solar installation industry is to avoid any short-term threat and overcome persistent challenges, it will need to do some soul searching and connect back to the original noble vision of a better world, that has prompted so many early adopters to go solar. Unless, the solar industry maintains its reputation as vanguard in the fight against climate change and unfair business practices, it will not keep the overwhelming popular support it has been enjoying. The winner solar companies of the future will be those understanding this reality today and adapting, quickly.

Andenet Alemu, PhD

Senior Solar Consultant, PMax Solar Inc.

Email: info@pmaxsolar.com

Will you help solar, wind and hydro save the planet from climate change?

Sunset at Laguna Beach, Ca - 2Sunset at Laguna Beach, Ca

Does the planet need saving?

You may ask. The planet? Not so much, but humanity? Of course! If you believe the overwhelming opinion of scientists, the answer is obvious: global warming represents an unprecedented level of threat to human life. Unlike the hazard nuclear weapons represent, business as usual is enough to assure destruction through the disastrous consequences of cumulated global atmospheric emissions. Inaction is not an option as it will only guarantee such devastation. In fact, many scientists now believe that we are fast approaching an irreversible point in time beyond which humanity will be unable to reverse, stop or even limit global climate change’s catastrophic effects. This is no exaggeration and the danger facing us cannot be overstated. As I write this, hurricane Harvey is pounding the city of Houston and all southeast Texas with unprecedented levels of flood, while halfway across the globe, people, aid agencies and governments are battling a severe drought condition that could lead to yet another famine in the East African region.

Every positive action counts

But then what can you do about it? The problem seems too overwhelming to even rationally think that one person can do something impactful. This cannot be far from the truth as the likely solution will take the cumulated and sustained actions of everyone, however small. The effects of global warming know no state or national boundaries. Similarly, every local positive step to address this problem is also a contribution to the global fight. Everyone can join the fight to limit, stop and maybe even reverse these effects. In short, pollution in Beijing is a threat to the whole humanity. Similarly, a household going solar in Los Angeles is a step in the right direction to save our future.

We have the technology to solve this but we need bold and fast action

There is no question that today’s technology has the means to come to our rescue. Humanity created the conditions of its own downfall. But Humanity can also save itself, from itself, provided we act with purpose, vision, determination and unity. Short-sighted, self-serving, fear-based impulses to retract back to tribal, ethnic, racial or even national supremacist views and policies can only accelerate our downfall as a specie. What is needed is an understanding of the globalized world we live in combined with a local focus on actions to address some of the most pressing challenges we face. We all are humans first. If we don’t fight to preserve the conditions that sustain human life on this planet then what good does anything else do?

Support Solar, Wind and Hydro-power technologies

Solar, wind and hydro-power are the main technological tools that humanity currently has at its disposal to combat climate change. Already, specific groups, such as US homeowners, have the means to combat climate change at their level by installing solar on their roofs. These technologies are already mature, affordable and can save money while letting us contribute to this global fight for our future. Protectionist tariffs on solar products, opposition to environmentally friendly regulations by some interest groups (usually related to incumbent traditional power producers), general misinformation about green energy or climate change are all tantamount to crimes against our future. The fight against climate change should have no political or other partisan division the same way saving people in imminent danger should appeal to our inner-most fundamental truth: our shared humanity.

Let’s install solar and wind power wherever it makes economic sense. Let’s keep pushing for sensible environmental protection, sustainable energy sources, affordable advanced energy storage solutions and regulations that can positively contribute to the betterment for this planet. We already have most of the technological solutions we need. Let’s save ourselves from assured destruction. We are in this together and the time is now! Let us all act before it is truly too late.

Andenet Alemu, PhD

Senior Solar Consultant, PMax Solar Inc.

Email: info@pmaxsolar.com

Potential of Solar Power in the land of 13 months of Sunshine: Ethiopia

Ethiopian Electric Power CEO - Eng. Azeb Asnake and Andenet Alemu - PhD at US ‪Ethiopia Business and Investment Summit Aug. 2014

With Ethiopian Electric Power CEO – Eng. Azeb Asnake at US -Ethiopia Business and Investment Summit, Houston, Texas, August 2014

Solar electric power technology also known as photovoltaics is a God sent to a country like Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a fast-developing country of 100 million people, 2nd most populous country in Africa, with ever increasing energy needs. Interestingly, the country has developed ambitious plans and projects centered around hydroelectric dam development, including the much talked-about Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Africa’s biggest wind power installation, several planned geothermal power stations and, to a lesser extent, solar energy. Most of these infrastructures represent utility scale projects with centralized power production. They are expected to generate much needed foreign exchange through the sale of electric power to neighboring countries, in turn accelerating the development of the Ethiopian economy and increasing even further the need for more energy. Power hungry economic projects such as the newly developed industrial zones, mines and other similar industries and projects such as the newly-built electrified railways are expected to benefit from the increase in supply of electric power.

What is not clear is how these projects will increase the supply of electric power to the Ethiopian households, whether inside cities, where the limitation is more on the power distribution side rather than on the power generation side, or outside cities, where an off-grid solution is more adapted. In this regard, solar electricity is perfectly matched to the realities on the ground since solar electric solutions can be scaled to virtually any size, from few kW household levels to several hundred-megawatt utility scale plants.

Science seem to have firmly established that drought conditions experienced in that part of the world are directly related to the El-Nino weather condition in the Pacific Ocean resulting from increased global atmospheric emissions caused by the worldwide industrialization drive of the past 150 years. The increasing frequency and intensity of such devastating weather condition and its predicted future catastrophic consequence impose an imperative on sustainability of future energy sources. This is exactly why Ethiopia has been at the forefront of countries advocating for global consensus to address an issue so detrimental to its own survival.

Thankfully, solar energy, which is widely seen as the main antidote for the cause of climate change, is starting to boom around the world. This is more so in developed countries that have friendly solar regulations such as the ability of sending back excess power to the grid and getting paid for it. Ethiopia doesn’t yet have such feed-in-tariff or net metering schemes which would be ideal for city based residential solar installations. With energy storage solutions becoming cheaper, solar-plus-storage, which is ideal for off-grid locations, will soon be highly competitive. Even without storage, solar solutions can already be deployed for use in agriculture (i.e. solar powered water pumps for irrigation), health centers, schools etc. as primary or secondary energy sources that could drastically reduce foreign exchange expenses on fuel imports used in diesel generators and improve the livelihood of the general population.

Ethiopia needs a well thought, visionary solar policy. With the right investment, it can completely transform the country’s energy infrastructure just as cell phones did in the telecommunication sector. Nevertheless, all solar panels, the central part of a photovoltaic solar electricity generating system, are not created equal. The performance, quality and reliability of the product will be deciding factors on whether a given solar installation will live up to expectation. Trusted independent expert council will be key in assessing, recommending or overviewing the selection of approved photovoltaic products or screening international solar project bidders. Ideally, a country like Ethiopia, which has a lot to gain from the widespread adoption of solar electricity, will be able to establish its own Photovoltaic Research and Technology Center to support home-based solar panel manufacturing plants that output products of the highest standard.

Andenet Alemu, PhD

Senior Solar Consultant, PMax Solar Inc.

Contact: info@pmaxsolar.com