Planning Aids for Solar
Solar Energy System Planning Aids
Backwoods Solar would like to share the following sampling of the many cell phone apps available for solar energy system planning. Many of these can aid in the development of information for site assessment or system costs. Some are still very specific to Grid-Tied applications in regards to payback time, system production, and component choices. The general site-assessment tools and sun and shading evaluators are useful in determining a site for your solar array and whether a location has a usable solar resource.
Solmetric iPV, IOS ($39.99): Measures shade and evaluates potential energy output of a solar PV system; information you need for a site evaluation is stored on the phone including world-wide weather data and a wide range of PV panels and inverters (grid-tied). It helps you estimate monthly solar energy at a location, taking into account a shading approximation.
PV Master, IOS ($11.99): The app has 5 sections:
• Data (insolation and weather information)
• Panel Calculator
• Battery Calculator
Solmetric iSV, IOS ($4.99) Sun Viewer application uses the iPhone camera to provide an “augmented reality” view of the sun paths at a specific location.
PV Solar Calculator, IOS ($3.00) Enter one parameter (Grid-Tied)- either DC or AC output, annual energy production, system cost, or surface area-and it calculates the other parameters.
Solar Checker, IOS (free) by SMA (Grid-Tied) will estimate a system’s annual and lifetime energy production plus come up with the rate of return on investment- this is one of the best rated free apps.
Solar Panel Advisor, IOS (free) Provides instantaneous power output at your location, given the time of day. It’s a handy way to see whether a solar array is working as advertised
Balance of System Apps (BOS)
Electric Pro, Android ($2.00) by Comoving Magnetics. A very useful app for estimating BOS costs. It includes: Bury Depth, Fault Calculations, Fill Calculations, Wire Ampacity and Voltage Drop. Requires an internet connection.
Elec Ref, Android ($4.00) by Trunnion, Inc., adds transformer sizing, wire colors, and a number of other handy items to the list referenced in the above app, plus it works off-line.