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The benefits of using the Solar-Estimate calculator
The Solar-Estimate calculator is actually a number of mini-solar panel calculators in one and offers the widest range of solar calculations available. It is the only solar calculator in America to take into account local incentives in its calculations.
Compare the best 3 solar deals in your city
This is a great way to know that the people you are talking to about solar are amongst the most competitive in your market. With solar being a new industry there are still a lot of companies out there using high pressure in-home sales tactics to extract ridiculous pricing from consumers. Seeing pricing from multiple solar companies stops you falling victim of these tactics. This feature does require entry and validation of your personal data as our agreements with solar companies require us to validate these before giving you access to their pricing. However, rest assured that we will never on-sell your details to anyone unless you specifically request us to do so to get a quote.
Compare 3 solar deals in your city
The Solar-Estimate solar panels calculator has a unique ability to define the number of solar panels you need when you enter your utility provider and monthly average power spend. It is the only solar calculator in America that has all of the electricity rates schedules for each utility company in our database. What this means is that we can make an accurate estimate just from knowing your monthly spend.
Calculate how many solar panels I need
Our solar estimator calculates how much power a given sized array of solar panels will produce given your location. We first calculate your power usage in kWh from your monthly power spend (see above). Then, by using our database of solar irradiation for each zip code in America, we calculate how much power output you can expect to get from each kW (peak DC) of solar panels. Knowing these two things we then estimate a system size that will cover 100% of your bill. The PVWatts solar calculator is also very good at this but that calculator does not have local incentive data or live pricing from installers, and so its financial calculations are not as accurate as Solar Estimate.
Calculate my solar production
Once we have estimated the size of system you need to cover 100% of our electric spend we can then tell you how much roof space you will need to be able to install this system. At the end of our calculator on the results page you can play around with the percentage of your power bill you want to eliminate to find a solar system that will fit on your roof.
Calculate my solar panel system
The Solar-Estimate solar calculator gains a number of advantages from the fact that Solar-Estimate is also a quoting marketplace where consumers seek quotes from local solar companies. Principal amongst these advantages is that we have access to up to date pricing from each region in America and so we can give a far more accurate estimate of cost than other solar calculators.
What's my cost to install solar panels?
Solar Estimate has the only solar calculator that includes full, up-to-date details of local incentives in its calculations as well as the 30% Federal solar tax credit. The inclusion of local incentives in these calculations often makes a significant difference to the actual return on investment and payback period you get from solar.
What solar incentives apply to me and what is their value?
We use a simple method for calculating solar savings in that we take the cost of the system after incentives away from the total utility savings you are likely to get over the 25 year life of the system. This does not take into account the cost of money. To do this calculation properly you would need to apply a cost of capital but with most people earning almost nothing on money in savings accounts at the moment this wouldn't make too much difference. Probably the biggest factor affecting the solar savings estimate is the number we use for the expected long term inflation rate for utility power prices. We currently use a 3% number for energy cost inflation across the board.Calculator
Estimate my solar savings
A number or upgrades are coming throughout 2017 to the Solar-Estimate solar calculator including:
Solar Lease Calculator - this will calculate solar savings and payback period specifically for a solar lease. In the interim this information can be obtained from the solar quotes you get back from solar companies after using our marketplace.
Solar Loan Calculator - this will calculate solar savings and payback period specifically for a solar loan that is arranged through the solar company and compare this to the returns you get from a cash purchase or a purchase you fund yourself through a HELOC loan. In the interim this information can be obtained from the solar quotes you get back from solar companies after using our marketplace.
Solar PPA calculator - calculates your savings for a given PPA contact and compares them to the savings if you were to purchase the same solar power system outright.
For information about specific solar calculations visit our solar calculations explained page.