Solar Mapper: Visualising your roof–and your savings–with solar

Anyone who has considered installing a rooftop solar system has wondered to themselves how many panels their roof could handle and what sort of power a system of that size would produce. Solar Mapper is company that has developed an online application designed to make it easy to answer these questions without no technical knowledge about how solar panel technology works. This article is an overview of what the Solar Mapper platform offers residential solar customers.

How does it work?

1. A customer interested in going solar visits the Solar Mapper website or a site that hosts the Solar Mapper platform in its interface.

2. The customer identifies their roof and draws a polygons around its perimeter. The polygon will be automatically filled with the default solar panels fitting into its area. Customer with complex roof is enabled to draw several polygons and also to avoid shading by chimneys, vents, etc.

Solar Mapper roof panel arrays

3. The customer adjusts the roof slope & orientation values to roughly reflect the tilt & aspect of their roof. If they’re not sure, they can make educated guesses just to get an idea of what might be available to them.

Solar Mapper Project Setup

4. The customer enters their average electricity rate and may adjust their actual household electricity consumption using the tool provided in order to be well informed about best matching system size. (N.b. It is essential that customers aim to install a system that will meet daytime electricity needs and not more than that, as power exported power to the grid is worth less than ‘self-consumed’ solar.)

5. Solar system offerings from installers who operate in the area will appear on the screen. These offerings can be clicked for more information on pricing & products used.

6. Based on the offer selected, the information that the customer has entered about their roof, and the local solar irradiation and climate data, Solar Mapper generates a report showing how much the home or business in question could save on power bills by having a system installed. The report is interactive and takes into account household size, from which it infers electricity usage amounts & timing. It also shows estimated daily solar irradiation data per month for the area.

Solar Mapper Monthly Irradiation

7. The customer can then peruse the other offers from solar system installers who operate in their area, comparing pricing and product options whilst resting reasonably assured about how the benefits stack up of each stack up to one another.

About Solar Mapper

Solar Mapper says that its mission is to “involve individuals in the buildup of self-powered communities and to share the passion of achievements and distinction.” The approach is open online platform where both private and business users can access and share solar related information. The Solar Mapper tool has been available online since 2012, and the company is constantly developing new features and tools. Two of the tools currently under development are SunValue, designed to be embedded in the interface of online real estate portals, and Virtual PV, which used real-time meteological data, thereby allowing installers & potential solar customers alike to see a ‘live demo’ of any system designed using the Solar Mapper portal.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd