Solar Roadmap Highlight
ASTI Newsletter | January 2014 Edition | By Stephen Wolcott
Falling prices and technological advancements have made solar photovoltaic systems more accessible to residents and businesses than ever before. From evaluating a building’s solar production potential to exploring affordable financing options, the Solar Roadmap’s resource library offers up-to-date evaluation tools and educational resources to guide residents and businesses through every step of the decision-making process.
In addition to an extensive list of solar financing resources, the Roadmap features three key resources available to residents and businesses, the first of which is a US Department of Energy’s consumer guide entitled “Get Your Power From the Sun”. It provides a clear and comprehensive overview of key considerations for potential PV system owners, as well as information about the procurement and installation process. As a non-technical guide, it is especially accessible for interested individuals with little to no background in solar, offering basic information regarding the design of PV systems, how to select a properly licensed installer, as well as the necessary permits for construction and interconnection with the electricity grid.
The Solar Roadmap also provides access to free online tools that help consumers evaluate their solar production potential. The PVWatts Calculator was developed by the National Renewable Energy Lab to estimate the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. It allows homeowners, small building owners, installers and manufacturers to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations, which can inform financial decisions.
The PV Value spreadsheet is a product of Sandia National Laboratories and Energy Sense Finance that can be used to determine the value of a new or existing PV system installed on a residential or commercial property. The results from a recent Lawrence Berkeley National Lab report show that PV systems increase the value of residential properties immediately upon installation. Although it is designed for a commercial audience such as real estate appraisers and PV industry sales staff, it may also be of interest to residents evaluating solar’s impact on their property values.
For more detailed information on financial incentives, permitting, and inspection, residents and business owners can locate their community on the Solar Roadmap’s national map.