You’ve heard the good news stories from your neighbours. You’ve seen solar popping up on rooftops in your suburb. It must make sense, you say to your-self.
But what’s your solar potential?
Technology and computing power is making this question increasingly easy to answer and today, there are a myriad of solar mapping tools available that can help you unleash your solar potential.
Here is a short list of some of the best tools we have seen around the world.
[In addition to the tools below, Solar Choice can help you find and compare solar installers in your part of Australia. Request a free and impartial Solar Quote Comparison by filling out the form to the right of this page.]
Starting at the high level, you can see maps of every country in the world and where the best solar radiation levels are at SolarGIS. They have a bunch of great maps which use colour coding to show global potential.
If you would like to see what has been installed around the world, WikiSolar has a powerful database of installations; nothing like seeing what others have done; try before you buy!
Wunderground has a great global tool which looks like it covers most parts of the world. It’s not as slick or user friendly as some of the others, but has an enormous databases of sites and locations and will give you a fast energy potential estimate. Sunearth tools is similar and also gives you sunrise and sun path tracking estimates.
In the US, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has a great tool called IMBY (In My Back Yard). Simply punch in your address, drag a map over your roof area and hey presto, you can simply measure your potential, and a whole lot more. This is a lot more flexible and granular and is one of the best tools out there.
Mapdwell is another US-based tool developed by Cambridge University which uses a simple colour coding system in specific regions. Although it has limited coverage so far, it is a really simple tool with powerful and simple visual outputs.
In Australia, we also have some great tools.
LG Solar released a number of great mapping tools recently. You can calculate your savings, your energy potential from various system sizes and check what can fit on your roof. Using their Google maps-based tool, you simply load your address, draw in a roof area that suits you and it will calculate your potential.
The Australian PV Institute also has a great live solar map released earlier this year. Although it’s not designed for sizing, it is a powerful tool that shows the real time contribution of solar energy in Australia based on a huge data base of real solar data and the findings are quite incredible.
Solarmapper is a new tool which was launched recently and also covers Australia. It’s a really neat solution.
If you live in India, there is a tool for you too. India’s Energy and Resource Institute announced they will progressively build a mapping tool in a variety of cities around the country. In South America and for those who prefer Spanish, the Chilean Ministry of Energy has a free online tool which can help you calculate your potential, produce reports and more. Japan also announced a recent initiative to develop a tool which will come on line later this year. Hawaiians can also plan their solar potential but with a slight twist; because there is so much solar being installed, the map produced by Hawaiian Electric Light Company is focused on describing where the grid network can accept more solar, a neat idea which many other countries like Australia may need soon.
I’ll take a bet that the availability of these types of maps is going to expand rapidly as time passes but one things for sure, there are already plenty out there for anyone who wants to unleash their inner solar potential.
© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
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