Solar calculators. No, not the handheld device with the solar strip you use to help you pass your algebra tests. Many solar power companies and informational websites display solar calculators to help those interested in solar energy decide the cost and whether it’s worth the investment. Solar calculators can estimate the individual cost of a solar energy system with the following, individual-specific information:
- Zip code
- Project type (residential versus commercial)
- Estimated electricity usage and/or average monthly electricity bill
Many solar information websites use their own form of solar calculator, some of which are more helpful than others. Here’s a look at some popular solar calculators:
FindSolar.com – This solar calculator asks for an extensive list of information, some of which may not be readily available. However, the results are detailed and include the recommended system size, and the roof square footage required, as well as the post-incentive cost. The benefits of this calculator lie in its simplicity and understandability.
Solar-Estimate – This solar calculator goes through several pages of required information for your solar estimate. The results include the federal income tax rate, as well as the utility savings method specific to your area. Another simple solar calculator, this display may not be the most detailed, but it remains helpful.
PV-Watts – This solar calculator is highly graphical, and includes a detailed map of the US. Once you enter the required information, you’ll get an extensive list of information that includes the DC rating of the best suited photovoltaic system, as well as the energy value and solar radiation PER MONTH. However, some may find this solar calculator to be a little too detailed and somewhat confusing.
SunSource – This neat solar calculator is easy to use, and the large graphics make it eye catching. SunSource’s calculations even include the environmental equivalent of your PV system by showing you how many trees you could plant to equal the reduction in CO2 emissions. However the, “annual operation savings,” may not be easy for everyone to understand and compute to actual household savings.
*Let’s make them better! SolarPros is researching advancements in solar calculators! Have a suggestion for our new solar calculator? Be sure to leave it in the comment section below!