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SUNSTONE CREDIT

Streamlining Financing for Solar Energy Businesses 

Product Design | Marketing Website | Sales Enablment

Introduction

Think about the sun and it shining every day.
Think about how much energy you can get from it.
Now, think about how much energy you can get from it and how great it would be for small and medium businesses.

This is a light bulb moment.

Sunstone as a company has a plan to change the energy game as it is known right now. The plan is simple, making sure clean energy solutions are available for all small and medium businesses.

It was founded to change the energy industry by providing installers and SMB borrowers with easy-to-use, up-to-standard financing products backed by the scalability of large financial institutions.
Installers, SMB followers and Financial Institutions can all be under one platform and help small and medium-sized businesses save money with the use of solar.

The Challenge

In the last decade, the average cost of solar has gone down while the commercial prices of electricity have gone up which makes the three users of Sunstone have specific problems they face when it comes to solar energy as a solution.

• Installers are without the finances and tools they need to easily close deals and grow businesses
• SMB borrowers do not have simple, efficient and appealing finances to reduce utility costs
• Financial Institutions do not have access to loan growth and lending opportunities to give.
The Installers and Financial Institutions face a specific problem when looking or sourcing for solar services for businesses. The goal of sunstone as a product is to leverage its deep experience in solar installation and financial institution partners to build industry-leading products and services for the SMB sector.

The Goal

Sunstone knows that the average rooftop system cost is expected to fall and is making sure that there is continuous technological innovation and supply chain improvement.

This is where Sunstone as a product comes in, to help create a form of partnership between the small and medium businesses, installers and financial institutions.

Sunstone’s objective as a product is simple and straightforward.

  • Create a smart solution for SMB businesses, Installers and Financial Institutions in the solar energy sector.

This straightforward process found itself in the factors that came to play when building the website and dashboard.

User Experience

We made sure to align with the client on the goal for both the business and the product, as these most times have connecting factors that must never be overlooked.

Business goal

  • Through Sunstone as a product, installers offer different financing options for their customers.
  • Sunstone also offers installers a way to grow their sales and of course, make a profit.

User goal

  • Having multiple applications for different properties that they want to install solar energy solutions for
  • Installers selling APR/loan terms (“loan product”) to borrowers

Target Market

  • Installers are regionalized solar project installers)
  • Borrowers also known as Businesses

Reason

  • Installers need the website to get borrowers and be able to connect to them. The website will act as the connector between businesses looking for loans to install solar energy solutions and Sunstone Credit.
  • Borrowers need a place to meet with the Installer. The website acts as the place where the loans can be applied for. A borrower can have multiple applications for different properties that they want to install solar energy solutions for, they need the website to list it.

Pain Points

  • Installers do not have the financing tools to easily close deals and scale businesses.
  • Small and Medium Businesses borrowers do not have simple, efficient and appealing finances to reduce costs.
  • Financial Institutions do not have access to loan growth and ESG lending opportunities.
  • SMB borrowers not being able to purchase solar systems from installers with loan products.
  • Financial Institutions not being able to receive access to SMB borrowers and attractive assets/yields.

The Solution

Our solution is as simple as what Sunstone is offering both Installers and Borrowers. In designing the content, our first step was getting the installer and businesses onboard. Think about Sunstone Applicant Portal as a shopify website for installers

Onboarding installer steps:

  • Installer goes to: www.sunstonecredit.com/installer
  • Signs up with an email, password and get their own personal portal where they will route their customers (“borrowers”) to apply for loans, with the loan terms offered by the particular installer.
  • The installer’s “Sunstone Applicant Portal” will be branded with the installer’s logo, also with sunstone’s logo
  • Installers log in to their account on the Applicant portal, fill out a form for a borrower in their network.
  • Once the installer submits a borrower for a new account initialization, the borrower will receive an email saying that the borrower has been invited to submit a loan application with the terms (“loan product”) agreed upon with the installer.
  • A link to the installer.sunstonecredit.com/login or signup page will be added to the email.

Onboarding for borrowers steps:

  • When the borrower signs into their account on the installer’s website, the borrower can start a new application that was initialized by the installer with the terms decided on during the sale call with the installer
  • The borrower can start to fill out a loan application once signed in
  • The borrower can come back to see the status of their application
  • The borrower must be able to sign up for a new account via the register/sign up link sent.

Use Cases

We made sure to align with the client on the goal for both the business and the product, as these most times have connecting factors that must never be overlooked.

The Installer

  • Easily gets a borrower to be backed up by a financial institution
  • Reliable sales person backed by Sunstone
  • Able to offer their clients/ customers reliable finance options
  • Able to earn revenue when they install solar projects

The Borrower

  • Ability to apply for a loan via Sunstone
  • Have multiple applications for different properties that they want to install solar energy solutions
  • Being able to be sold loan products by Installers

The Design

The Sunstone website puts its two main users in mind from the first click. The borrower and the installer.

The flow for the borrower is in such a way that when the application portal for the borrower is filled with the necessary fields, a link is immediately sent which takes them to the sign-up screen.
Access to create a new application is granted which includes Product, Property address, Borrower name and Tax ID. The application for a loan can then begin.

For the installer, it is possible to sign up the borrower in four simple steps.

  • Click on new borrower
  • Fill in form fields
  • Update loan options
  • Click submit

Visual Design

The technology platform intends to support Sunstone’s product offering by

  • Streamlining each users experience
  • Providing industry-standard tools
  • Making sure that the processing is paperless and also efficient
  • Complying with industry standards and security

Asides designing the website and portals for the product, we ensured to help sunstone design assets that will aid their marketing process, so as to better communicate their offerings and objectives to their intended targets.

One Pager

This is a one page flier that can be used as a marketing material to inform both installers and borrowers on the need to adopt the sunstone process.

Pitch Deck

Having considered the need for Sunstone as a brand to have an appealing look, we sure had to put into consideration the importance for them as a company having a well explanatory pitch deck to aid communication across different stakeholders on the product. We redesigned the already existing deck, putting into play the industry standards, and ensured the flow was seamless for easy understanding.

Takeaways

Sunstone is a lifesaver for SMB’s. This is not just evident in the way it takes these businesses into consideration but also in how it makes sure they benefit as much. In the next decade, it’ll be the most sought after energy solution where customers and stakeholders are concerned. We are more than glad to be involved in what is going to be a tremendous shift in the energy sector and we acknowledge the hard work of the Sunstone team.

We are not sure if we fall into the medium scale business but we will confirm from the team and then get on board also.

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