If you’re thinking about investing in a solar system, one of the first things you’ll probably use is a solar savings calculator. These online tools provide you with solar estimates that include the cost and savings of switching to solar energy. But, are these cost calculators truly showing you everything that you need to figure out the real cost of solar? This is the truth behind those solar savings calculators and how to use them to your advantage.
How do they work?
Most solar savings calculators work the same way. They start by asking a few questions such as:
- Enter your address
- Current energy bills
- How shady is your roof?
- Type of property
They then compile this information with a set of parameters they choose to see if your home qualifies for solar. After you complete the initial questionnaire, the savings calculator shows you the so-called savings estimator, which is basically the estimated cost of your solar system and your return on investment.
Are solar calculators accurate?
With so little information, solar calculators have definite limitations. While they are a great starting point for your solar research, you should never base your decision to go solar (or not to go solar) on the results of a solar calculator alone.
Unfortunately, these calculators have many variations that affect their results. First of all, we all know satellite maps don’t always show the right house, they’re not as great at showing shading, and they cannot determine the actual slope and tilt of your roof. Those are all critical measures to consider when switching to solar.
What they don’t consider
Solar calculators only take into account your energy bills. When in reality, you have to consider kilowatt hours to determine the actual size of your solar energy system. Solar calculators often become less accurate with constantly rising utility rates across the country. Instead of looking at energy bills alone, you need to consider your home’s energy use and the projected energy use under a solar system array.
Solar calculators only scratch the surface at the things you need to consider before switching to solar. For example, they don’t consider your goals, your current budget and financial capabilities, the cost of the solar equipment, and the finance options available. Not to mention the tax credits available in your state, the cost of solar installation, and more.
How to get more accurate solar saving calculations?
Solar energy calculators are a great way to start your research. But, if you’re serious about going solar, you need a more personalized approach. Instead of searching through inaccurate calculators, get a free custom quote from your local solar installer.
Relying on a solar calculator will make you miss out on personalized details that can make a difference. Your goal should be to make sure you receive information regarding the exact solar energy system needed to assess your home’s potential and your energy goals.