How many solar panels do I need?

With the development of online solar tools/solar maps, any business owner can be able to determine whether going solar will make any economic sense while inputting very minimal data. All that is needed is the location and an estimation of your current energy bill. Solar online tools have simplified the need to call solar developers during the preliminary stage of the solar project. At this stage, you probably don’t need to call solar developers because you can make an estimation of whether going solar is worth it based on specific data sets that can be figured out using these tools.

The following are some aspects of going solar that you might want to consider to help you determine or decide whether going solar is a preferred option for your commercial building.

  1. Solar online tools will provide you with your solar energy potential or solar yield that can be generated on your rooftop.
  2. These tools will give you solar financing options, including leasing, solar PPA, solar loans and cash options. Each of these financing options will provide you with their estimated savings over the lifespan of your solar panel hence allowing you to make a judgment based on estimated savings to be achieved in the long-term.
  3. Also from the personalized solar reports generated after inputting your details, you can capture your current energy requirements with your current utility rates versus future rates when solar is included can be generated to help you determine future energy savings.
  4. Sizing of your PV system which is critical for commercial projects will also be captured. In this regard, you will be able to answer the question “how many solar panels do I need” in order to go solar. The size of your commercial solar  PV system can range anywhere from 10kW and above depending on the size or energy requirements of your business. Hence, how many solar panels you need for your PV system determines whether your project will be successful and to what extent it will be. Your PV system needs to be sized correctly in order to enjoy all your solar benefits. Oversizing your system can lead to wasted energy production while undersizing will result in reducing your return on investment or other opportunities. Today there are various monitoring systems that can help you to determine your solar production on a real-time basis. TED for solar is one monitoring system that will provide you with insights into your solar energy investment as it monitors your PV system to give you the following data:
    • Solar energy production
    • Solar energy consumption
    • Net solar usage
  5. Lastly, with the help of online solar tools and assistance from solar developers, you can get more specific details into the financials of your solar project. These data help you to draw conclusions on whether to proceed with your solar project. You personalized solar report will provide you with the following details for you to decide whether going solar is actually profitable for your business that is,
    • Expected initial investment cost
    • Expected solar yields (solar potential)
    • Estimated payback period
    • Estimated return on investment
    • Financing options with each one presenting you with estimated savings potential.

How many solar panels do I need? Get your personalized report and find out the other details that will help make a more informed decision even before you consult solar developers. Get started now.

What makes online solar tools a reliable source for researching about solar energy for solar developers and end-users?

With solar power becoming a more affordable source of energy and in states like Hawaii where the cost of solar power already equals that of other sources at current electricity prices (grid parity). Grid parity is expected to become the trend for many places across the US by 2020. As a result, local governments, states and the federal government as well as the private sector have developed online solar tools or  solar maps that combine topographical data, meteorological data and financial to equip a wide range of stakeholders with useful information for decision making.

Online solar tools for solar developers

For solar developers, the degree of accuracy is of importance when it comes to solar project development and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging Data) is a great solution, but very costly and many LiDAR projects are funded by local, state or the federal government to eliminate such costs to the private sector.

LiDAR provides the greatest degree of accuracy. LiDAR create 3 dimensional digital models that analyses the impact of shading on solar projects through identification of shading obstructions, roof tilts as well as an estimation of the area available for a specific solar installation.

However, LiDAR only provides topographical data which when combined with meteorological and financial data will help provide solar developers with useful information about a specific solar project in a short time. Using such solar online tools, solar developers save time with remote site analysis and can design and quote a commercial solar system from their desk. However, for commercial solar projects, it is up to solar developers to find and compare solar resource and weather data from various sources (both private and public) to reduce project uncertainty that will impact the financial viability of the project. Finding reliable weather data (including precipitation, wind speed and temperature) are essential for estimating PV system production and financial returns. Therefore any project uncertainty can impact on the future financial projections or performance of the PV system.

Online solar tools for homeowners and businesses

Online solar tools for prospecting solar customers are helpful to help them research on their specific solar power potential of their homes or businesses. These solar online tools can help homeowners and businesses to educate themselves when it comes to how to go solar and whether going solar will be beneficial to them and to what extent. Online solar tools provide solar estimates of the following specific information similar to solar developers. This information includes but not limited to:

  • Cost of installation
  • Financing options
  • Potential energy savings
  • Payback times
  • Solar PV system size (How many solar panels do I need)
  • Solar maintenance requirements
  • Life span for the PV system
  • Pre-screened solar installers
  • Solar developers

In addition, online solar tools can be used for all sizes of PV projects and will provide site specific data taking into consideration, topographical, meteorological and financial data necessary to help homeowners decide or make more informed decisions when it comes to going solar.

Get started today with EnergySage, which is used by over one million people every year to help them research and shop for solar while taking into consideration the above solar design questions.