Our Story

Pretty Visible is building an eye opening new social resource and online community for solar customers. Our goal is to help homeowners discover and share the power of solar. Here's why we're doing it.

There's a revolution afoot in the US power industry. With plummeting prices and easy financing, rooftop solar has now become a practical, money-saving alternative to the utility grid in many states. As a result, installs have been growing about 50% a year for the last fews years. While this is good news for the solar industry and the environment, solar still has a long way to go to have a truly meaningful impact on the nation's carbon emissions.

The big obstacle to wider adoption now is awareness. Many still perceive solar as a fringe technology or too complicated and expensive to bother with. As people become more aware of the new practical realities of solar, adoption will follow.

Pretty Visible's mission is to accelerate solar awareness and adoption by making it easy for homeowners to see proof of solar working all around them.

My original inspiration was looking at the map of Berkeley solar installations on the city's web site and being shocked at the sight of so many yellow dots covering the city. Although you can catch glimpses of rooftop solar panels when walking around town, seeing them all displayed together on a map for the first time was an eye-opening experience. It was proof-positive that solar is not just a fringe thing anymore, it's going mainstream. And even though we were already solar owners ourselves, this was an aha moment for us that if other homeowners could visualize the growing popularity of solar in their own communities it might help encourage them to consider going solar themselves.

I was further inspired by a 2011 study showing that solar is contagious. The study found that every time a house goes solar, it increases the probability of adoption in the same zip code by nearly 1%. And the peer effects at a street level are even larger. When homeowners see their neighbors go solar it makes them more likely to do so themselves. Social proof in action!

Pretty Visible's goal is to facilitate and amplify these solar peer effects:

  • First, we're making solar installations more visible. Our solar map helps potential customers see the solar installations in their neighborhood that they missed just walking or driving around.

  • Second, we're facilitating word of mouth. We help existing solar customers share their tips and testimonials online and help potential customers connect with existing customers in their community.

  • Third, we're collecting the practical experience and opinions of local solar homeowners on topics like installers, financing options and the latest technology.

Ultimately, we believe that existing solar customers are the best solar marketers and that connecting potential customers with existing customers is the best way to help solar grow.