Pylon Review: The Solar Design Software Breakthrough?

Looking for an objective review of Pylon's solar design software? Start by reading our objective Pylon review, where we analyse this solar design software in detail. Discover its tools, features, and industry impact and weather you should start using it.


September 12, 2023

If you're looking  for an honest and straightforward review of Pylon, you're in the right place.

By the time you finish reading this, you'll have a solid grasp of what Pylon excels at and whether to use it as your primary solar design tool or not.

Plus, you'll be better equipped to spot the must-have features when you're on the hunt for a tool for your installation projects. So, let's dive in and get you the insights you need.

An Overview of the Pylon Solar Design Software

When installing solar panels, a comprehensive evaluation of solar infrastructure is essential for achieving maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Pylon Solar Design Software offers a valuable solution for this.

Pylon is a pioneering online solar design instrument, invented with a specific vision in mind. Its creators, Nelson Zheng, a solar engineer, and Daniel Buckmaster, a software engineer, recognized a significant gap in the availability of user-friendly solar design tools within the market. This realisation prompted them to embark on the journey of crafting Pylon in the autumn of 2017. Their mission? To address the prevailing complexity in solar design and provide a simplified solution for the industry.

Pylon provides users with a user-friendly interface and advanced features that allow for accurate solar system design and analysis. The software allows users to input various parameters such as location, roof orientation, and shading information to optimise the system's performance.

Pylon Solar Design Software also offers detailed reports and simulations, enabling users to assess the potential energy production and financial returns of their solar projects. With its technical capabilities and analytical approach, this software is a useful tool for professionals and individuals alike who seek to assess and optimise the design of their solar installations.

What is Pylon? (Pylon Observer)

Pylon, also known as Pylon Observer, is a comprehensive tool used for designing and analysing solar energy systems.

It offers a range of key functionalities that aid in the efficient planning and optimization of solar installations.

These functionalities include accurate solar irradiation modelling, advanced shading analysis, precise system sizing, and automatic generation of detailed reports and documentation.

What Does Pylon Do and What are Its Key Functionalities?

One of the key functionalities of Pylon is its ability to predict the energy output of a solar system. Pylon achieves this by utilising advanced solar modelling algorithms and incorporating various factors such as geographical location, panel orientation, shading analysis, and weather conditions.

By inputting these parameters into the software, users can obtain precise estimates of the energy production potential of their solar installations.

Additionally, Pylon offers comprehensive design capabilities, allowing users to create detailed layouts of solar arrays, determine optimal panel placement, and calculate the system's performance metrics.

The software also provides detailed reports and analysis, enabling users to evaluate the economic viability of their solar projects.

Overall, Pylon's key functionalities make it a valuable tool for solar professionals and individuals seeking to design and optimise solar systems with accuracy and efficiency.

Advantages of Using Pylon's Solar Design Software

Here are a few advantages of using Pylon, we’ll be exploring these further in the following sections:

- Pylon offers a user-friendly and modern interface, enhancing its usability for users.

- It provides accurate solar shading models, enabling site assessments to be conducted with precision.

- The inclusion of clear and informative single-line diagrams enhances the overall understanding of the solar design process.

- The tool seamlessly integrates eSignatures within its proposals, streamlining the documentation process.

- Pylon enables users to instantly create and share web proposals on the website, facilitating efficient communication and collaboration.

Pylon has a User-Friendly and Modern Interface for Enhanced Usability

With its intuitive and sleek design, Pylon facilitates seamless navigation and enhances the usability of its solar design software, allowing users, regardless of their familiarity with solar design tools, to effortlessly design solar systems.

The modern interface of Pylon contributes to its user-friendly nature, making it easy for individuals to navigate and utilise the software effectively. The simplicity and clarity of the design enable users to quickly understand and access the various features and functionalities of the tool.

Additionally, the modern interface adds a touch of sophistication to the software, appealing to users who desire a contemporary and visually pleasing experience.

Pylon Offers Accurate Solar Shading Models for Site Assessments

By utilising high-resolution aerial imagery from MetroMap, Pylon's solar shading models provide an accurate representation of shading impacts on solar production, allowing for comprehensive site assessments.

The software's ability to accurately model solar shading is a crucial feature for solar design. Solar shading can significantly affect the performance of a solar system, making it essential to accurately assess its impact.

Pylon's shading tool offers a user-friendly interface that enables users to track shading impact throughout different times of the day and months of the year. This allows for a thorough understanding of the amount of solar production lost due to shading.

The accuracy and ease of use of Pylon's shading models make it a valuable tool for saving time and improving the accuracy of solar PV system designs.

Inclusion of Clear and Informative Single-Line Diagrams

Including clear and informative single-line diagrams in solar PV system design software has several benefits.

Firstly, these diagrams enable installation teams, maintenance personnel, and electrical grid operators to gain a comprehensive understanding of the solar system's technical aspects. This understanding facilitates informed decision-making regarding installation, operation, and safety.

Secondly, single-line diagrams provide crucial technical information about the solar system, such as the layout, connections, and components. This information allows users to visualise and comprehend the system's functionality.

Thirdly, by clearly illustrating the flow of electricity and the interconnections between various components, single-line diagrams aid in identifying potential issues, troubleshooting, and optimising system performance.

Furthermore, these diagrams assist in ensuring compliance with safety regulations and standards.

Pylon Seamlessly Integrates eSignatures Within its Proposals

The seamless integration of eSignatures within its proposals transforms the solar PV system design software into a comprehensive solution that streamlines the acceptance process for customers, saving them time and eliminating the need for additional external platforms.

Pylon's proposal system allows customers to sign and accept proposals directly within the document itself, providing convenience and efficiency. This native eSignature feature records a timestamp and location data, ensuring the authenticity and legality of the signatures.

By incorporating eSignatures into the proposal process, Pylon eliminates the need for customers to navigate to separate signing platforms, making the entire process more seamless and user-friendly. This integration not only enhances the customer experience but also increases conversion rates by reducing barriers to acceptance.

I think that Pylon's integration of eSignatures within its proposals greatly enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the solar design tool.

Pylon allows Users to instantly Create Share Web Proposals on their Website

Instantly creating and sharing web proposals on the website enhances user experience and streamlines the process of sharing solar PV system designs with customers. This feature offered by the Pylon tool allows users to generate comprehensive proposals that can be easily accessed and shared online. By eliminating the need for physical documents, this capability increases efficiency and saves time for both the user and the customer.

Additionally, the web-based nature of these proposals enables real-time collaboration and feedback, facilitating effective communication between the designer and the customer. Moreover, the tool provides a professional platform for presenting solar PV system designs, ensuring a visually appealing and organised representation of the proposal.

I think that the ability to instantly create and share web proposals directly from the Pylon website significantly improves the convenience and effectiveness of the design process.

Disadvantages of Using Pylon

When it comes to using Pylon solar design software, there are several disadvantages to consider. Here’s a list of the disadvantages that we’ll be discussing next:

-The default imagery provided by the tool is not of great quality, which could affect the overall presentation of the solar design.

-Unlike some other solar design tools, Pylon does not offer a monthly subscription-based pricing option, which may not be suitable for users who prefer a more flexible payment plan.

- Customising the appearance of proposals generated by Pylon requires extra work, which can be time-consuming and may not be ideal for users seeking a more streamlined process.

-Pylon does not currently have a live chat feature, which could be a drawback for users who prefer real-time assistance and support.

The Default Imagery isn't Great

Despite its other strengths, the default imagery provided by Pylon straight out of the box may not meet the expectations of users due to its subpar quality. The visual representation offered by Pylon Review lacks the clarity and detail necessary for accurate solar design analysis. Users rely on high-quality imagery to assess shading, orientation, and other factors that impact solar feasibility and efficiency.

While some online reviews praise Pylon for its default image quality, my experience leads me to a different conclusion. In my opinion, Pylon falls short in delivering the level of precision essential for making well-informed decisions. This drawback has the potential to impede the accuracy and dependability of the solar design workflow.

Consequently, users might find themselves compelled to seek alternative sources of imagery or allocate extra time and effort to acquire more precise visual data, thus optimising their design process.

I think that improving the default imagery quality could improve the overall usability and effectiveness of Pylon, so the tool definitely has room for improvement here.

No Monthly Subscription-Based Pricing Offered

The absence of a monthly subscription-based pricing model in Pylon's structure may leave potential users feeling disappointed, as it eliminates the convenience and the ability to confidently forecast your software expenses

Unlike many other software tools that offer monthly subscriptions, Pylon adopts a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. This means that users are required to purchase a pack of credits which can be used to create projects and unlock additional features.

Upon signing up, you'll receive 150 free credits, giving you the freedom to experiment with a few projects to kickstart your experience. Following this initial usage, you will have the option to purchase additional credits when you need them.

While this pricing system may suit some users who prefer flexibility in their usage, others may find it less appealing due to the lack of a fixed monthly fee.

I think that Pylon's pricing structure makes it more advantageous for occasional or one-time users rather than those who require continuous access to the software.

Customising Proposal Appearance Requires Extra Work

Another one of my criticisms of Pylon is that Customising the appearance of proposals using Pylon's  requires users to put in additional effort.

While Pylon offers a range of tools and features for designing solar systems, the ability to customise the appearance of proposals is not very straightforward.

Users who wish to modify the proposal's appearance must invest extra time and effort to achieve the desired outcome. This may involve manually adjusting various elements, such as fonts, colours, and layouts, which can be a time-consuming process.

Additionally, the software may not provide extensive options for customization, limiting users' ability to create highly personalised proposals.

Therefore, users should be aware that customising the appearance of proposals in Pylon may require additional work and may not offer as much flexibility as desired.

Pylon Doesn't Have a 24/7 Live Chat Feature

Currently, the absence of a 24/7 customer support live chat in Pylon's system may result in delayed responses to user inquiries during weekends. This limitation restricts users from accessing immediate assistance and can be frustrating if you’re ever in need of support during non-business hours.

Without this live chat feature, users are required to wait until the following Monday to receive a response. This delay can impede the progress of projects and hinder the overall user experience.

It is important to note that the lack of a live chat feature does not necessarily reflect the quality or effectiveness of the tool itself. However, it is a feature that many users may find beneficial, as it allows for real-time problem-solving and enhances the efficiency of the software.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pylon

In the upcoming section, we'll delve into some frequently asked questions about Pylon, the solar design tool. So, without further ado, let's explore some of the frequently asked questions about Pylon and shed light on its capabilities.

How Much Does Pylon Cost ?

It is important to note that the cost of Pylon solar design software does not follow a monthly subscription model. Instead, Pylon offers two pay-as-you-go pricing plans: Standard and Professional.

The Standard plan is priced at approximately $4/£4 per project and includes features such as solar system design, financial projections, and instant web & PDF proposals.

On the other hand, the Professional plan costs around $10/£10 per project and includes all the features of the Standard plan, along with additional features like the ability to design commercial-sized projects, battery storage design, and custom load profiles.

These pricing options allow users to choose the plan that best suits their needs and budget.

Is Pylon Compatible with Nearmap?

It is important to remember that while using Pylon during the free trial, you will only be able to generate designs using Google Maps as your image source. However, according to Pylon, with every project completed using a paid plan, you will receive a high-resolution aerial image provided by MetroMap.

If you haven't heard of MetroMap before, it is similar to NearMap and is a high-resolution aerial imagery provider. MetroMap by Aerometrex offers excellent colour quality in their captures, as they are taken from a plane. Additionally, they frequently update their aerial images up to four times yearly.


In conclusion, Pylon Solar Design Software offers numerous advantages for users in the solar industry. Its intuitive interface, accurate calculations, and comprehensive features make it a valuable tool for designing solar systems.

However, it does have some limitations, such as the lack of advanced customization options. When choosing a solar design software, it is important to consider your specific needs and requirements.

Overall, Pylon is a reliable option that can greatly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of solar system designs.

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About Author

Bekani Thulani

Bekani, founder of 99Solutions Marketing, seamlessly combines solar energy expertise with digital marketing acumen. Through compelling content, he simplifies concepts, motivates action, and communicates the tangible benefits of solar power.