Solar power calculator can help you estimate your savings based on the amount of sun in your region, your roof design, energy consumption, rebates, and other related factors.
Why Use a Solar Calculator?
With a solar power calculator, you can estimate your savings and the payback period, which is closely tied to the rate of return (ROI).
Things to Keep in Mind
To have a good estimate of the solar unit’s potential savings, there are several factors to keep in mind–the shading analysis, the incentives like tax rebates and energy credits, payback period, and annual savings.
Shading analysis is a crucial part of solar panel design and installation to ensure that your unit can generate the highest amount of energy. The goal here is to examine the shading caused by the surrounding objects (e.g., chimneys, nearby houses, trees, etc.).
Aside from shade, the solar unit’s output also depends on the panels’ direction and angle. Because the US is located in the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing panels produce the maximum amount of electricity because, on average, the sunlight passes directly over the equator.
By contrast, east- and west-facing solar panels generate around 20% less energy than those facing south.
In terms of the solar panels’ ideal angle, the general rule of thumb is to install them at an angle parallel to the roof. However, slopes between 30 and 45 degrees can also work well in many homes. (Note: The roof’s angle has less impact on the energy production than its direction.)
Incentives and Tax Credits
California is arguably the best state to go solar for two main reasons: It is one of the sunniest states in the country, and it offers solar incentives and tax credits to encourage homeowners and businesses to choose this renewable energy source.
- Federal solar tax credit. As of this writing, this credit allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of solar panel installation from your federal income taxes. (FYI, there is no cap on its value.)
- Local solar rebates. These rebates can be as high as $500, although it depends on your unit’s capacity and the requirements stipulated by the program.
- Net metering. This billing mechanism allows homeowners and businesses making excess energy with their solar panels to send it to the utility grid. This excess electricity is then used as a credit to hedge against their energy consumption when it’s nighttime or not sunny.
- Solar energy for low-income households. To make this renewable energy source more accessible, homeowners with a household income that is 80% of (or lower than) the area median income can access several rebate programs.
The payback period is the amount of time it takes to recover the cost of your investment in solar panels, which includes the units, adjunct parts, and installation cost. To determine this, simply divide the total cost of the system by the savings following the installation.
For example, before going solar, your annual energy cost was $2,000, which is eliminated by the solar panels that cost you around $15,000. Thus, your investment has a payback period of 7.5 years.
The potential annual savings will primarily depend on your energy consumption and how much electricity your panels can generate. Assuming that your solar panels completely eliminate your energy bill, that is the amount of annual savings you can enjoy after installation.
According to one recent study, this clean energy source can help homeowners in California, on average, save $1,740 annually or $72,000 in 40 years.
Google Project Sunroof can provide you a savings estimate by simply entering your home address. Their calculator uses multiple factors such as the local weather, solar cost, roof size and shape, local electricity prices, etc., to come up with a good estimate.
You can also get a free quote from Yorkshire Roofing, one of the leading professional solar installers in Northern California. You can also contact them at (800) 794-7444 to know more about this renewable and clean source of energy.