Solar calculators, as I am learning, are all about you typing in all available information you have about your own solar home project, then the calculator will return detailed cost estimate information. Some of them are more generalized to just give you a ballpark price. Others are mind-bogglingly complicated, taking into account your area of residence and what rebates/incentives are available to you and how that will impact the price of your project.

Some will tell you the available sunlight in your area based on your latitude and longitude.

Here are a few we found (there are at least 10 really functional and free solar calculators to be found online):

  1. Solar Water Heating Calculator: Solar water heaters are a great way to get into the solar lifestyle. This tool can tell you how your current heater is performing and whether or not you will save money using solar.
  2. Solar Position and Intensity Calculator: This crazy creation is brought to you buy the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Given your location, this calculator can show you everything from the time of sunrise and solar elevation to the solar azimuth angle and about 30 other desired outputs.
  3. PV Watts Calcualtor: This is for people who’s current photovoltaic systems are tied into the ‘grid’. Dollar value and energy production are the big draws here. But make sure you know your current cost and have all the system details.
  4. Sun Chart Program: This is from the University of Oregon and can tell you, based on your position, hours of usable daylight for solar power purposes.
  5. Solar Collector Efficiency Calculator: From Build It Solar, this tool does exactly what it says, but be prepared to know the technical details of your system…
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