Thinking Green: Free Solar Energy Calculator

We need to start thinking of new ways to produce electricity and heat for our homes and offices that are safe for our environment. Solar energy is clean energy that can be easily generated and help your buildings or homes become carbon neutral and self sufficient. It is a powerful source of energy. In fact, the sunlight that shines on the Earth in just one hour could meet world energy demand for an entire year! As designers, architects, contractors and homeowners we need to understand the options that are out there and the tools that are available to help us in our planning.

We can use solar power in two different ways: as a heat source, and as an energy source. People have used the sun as a heat source for thousands of years. Families in ancient Greece built their homes to get the most sunlight during the cold winter months.

You can use clean electricity from photovoltaic panels on your home or business to replace power produced by coal, oil, and nuclear power plants. A solar power system ties into your current utility connection, turning your electric meter backwards when the sun shines. Also, if your home or building produces more energy than you need, there are programs in place that you could sell that energy back to the grid and get money for it.

The process of converting this energy is called photovoltaics. If you have a solar-powered watch or calculator, you’re using photovoltaics!

There is a free program that can help you calculate the amount of energy production you can have for your project. It is Version 1 of the PVWattsTM. You will need the following information to calculate the amount of energy your proposed system can produce.

1. The size of the system
2. The angle of the array
3. The orientation of the array
4. The Cost of energy for the potential project

Version 1 of the PVWattsTM calculator allows users to select a photovoltaic (PV) system location from a defined list of options. For locations within the United States and its territories, users select a location from a map of 239 options. For international locations, users select a location from a drop-down menu of options. The calculator determines the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, installers, manufacturers, and researchers to easily develop estimates of the performance of hypothetical PV installations.

For more information and access to PVWattsTM solar energy calculator go to or follow the Link on my links.

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