Gary Kremen is the Chairman and founder of Clean Power Finance (CPF), an interesting solar company. CPF provides a standardized software-as-service (SaaS) tool that lets solar panel installers vastly speed up the sales proposal, rebate processing, system design and lead generation.
Based in occasionally sunny San Francisco, the company aims to enable mass-market adoption of solar with an end-to-end solution that integrates software and financing into the sales process.
Solar installers work with trucks, ladders, tool belts and roofs. "They hate paperwork," according to Kremen. So, CPF runs that part of the business for the installer. "We help the installer close the customer," asserts the founder.
CPF supplies the integrated software but soon expects to provide a means of financing solar roofs for home and business owners. "Why can't buying solar be like buying a car with POS [point of sale] financing?," said Kremen. Solar is in roughly the same price range. You should get credit at the same time you make the purchase."
As the price of the solar equipment drops, the "soft costs" of the sale and installation become more significant, said Kremen. "We are the CRM and MRP and system design. We produce the proposals and fill out the forms. Additionally, we have the world's best database of utility rates. PG&E has 200 rates. We help these installers get away from the math and the paperwork. Filling out the forms can take five hours."
The company also does shading analysis, and that saves the installer at least one visit to the site.
As testament to the value of CPF's Software as a Service product, the company has won Conergy, Real Goods, RoofRay and Suntech as customers. "We probably power 20 percent of the solar installers," said Kremen.
CPF's goals are aligned with the folks at SolarTech where they work with their Finance and Workforce Committees focusing on sales training, front end standards and best practices.
I did promise sex in the headline so here it is...
Gary Kremen has had a unique and storied history prior to his solar venture. As a founder of Match.com, he's responsible, in his words, for "spreading the love." Others would assert that Match.com is responsible for more bad dates than The Olive Garden. In any case, Match.Com was eventually sold to Ticketmaster / Citysearch for $50 million.
And there's the genuinely riveting sex.com saga which you can read about here.