Steps of going solar using an online solar calculator.

Going solar can be an interesting process for those not familiar with how the solar power industry works. But with a little help navigating the world of solar power, it can be much easier. In the past, going solar was a long and difficult process. Only a handful of people were able to afford to go solar. Now with the advancement in technologies and solar awareness, just about anyone has an opportunity to go solar. Today we are going to take a deeper look at some solar software programs that can get you started in the right direction.

Solar Power Calculator & Online Solar Marketplace

A helpful solar software program that will provide you with detailed information is a solar power calculator. This tool allows you to input your address and current monthly electric bill. After calculations are completed, you will be provided with a detailed report. In the report, you will receive an estimated cost of installation and how many years it will take for the solar power system to pay for itself. This information will give you an idea of what your startup costs will be.

An online solar marketplace is a great place to find all your solar power needs. Here you will choose between different solar power manufacturers. Then you will be able to compare solar power system sizes to see which one meets your particular needs. Below is a step-by-step guide to using an online marketplace.

1. Use the Solar Calculator: Input your address in the solar power calculator that’s provided in the marketplace. This solar software tool will find your exact location and determine the basic cost of your future system.

2. Compare solar panel prices: The first step after you have used the calculator is to compare solar panel prices. You will be provided with a list of different price systems. This will allow you see where you stand with the current budget you have in mind.

3. Determine your solar energy production potential: After you have compared solar panel prices, you will then need to determine what your area’s solar energy production potential is. This will be based on several different factors. Location, average number of sunny days and the amount of shade around your building or home will be taken into account as well. Once these factors are all calculated, your solar energy production potential will be determined. This will help you choose the right size and type of solar panel system for your home or building.

4. Select a qualified local solar installer: Next you will choose from a list of certified solar installers that are based in your area. Depending on your location, this list may be very long or very short. Certain areas of the country are not considered solar panel friendly, and finding an installer may be a bit more difficult. When choosing an installer, make sure to do your own research. Don’t be afraid to call the installation company independently and ask them important questions. Find out if they are licensed in your state and insured for your protection.

5. Determine your financial options: Solar power systems have a large startup cost. While the systems will pay for themselves after several years, most people don’t have the budget to pay cash up front. There are several different finance options that will help fund your solar panel project. We will discuss those options later in this article.

6. Seeing how much you can save by going solar: Finally, after you have considered all the factors, you will determine how much money you will save by choosing to install solar panels on your home or building. These savings will be a driving factor in your decision to go forward with the solar project.

Solar Financing Options

Solar Loans

A solar loan works just like any other type of loan. The homeowner or building owner will borrow the money to pay for both the solar panels and their installation. They will pay back that money each month with interest. This is the most common finance option and one that fits most people situation. Depending on the condition of your credit will determine the amount of interest you will pay. A down payment is also often required to secure the loan. Many homeowners use the equity in their home as collateral to secure a loan.

Solar PPA & Solar Lease

Solar PPA also known as solar power purchase agreement is a financial agreement between you and a developer. This very beneficial agreement will allow the developer to build and finance a solar power system on a customer’s property at little to no cost. Then the developer will sell the electricity to the customer at a rate that is normally much lower than the power company. This arrangement is long-term and is a great way to utilize solar power with no upfront costs. A contract will need to be signed and you will often have to pay a cancellation fee if you decide to get out of the contract early.

A solar lease allows homeowners and building owners to lease solar panel systems. This lease will be paid monthly and no upfront fees will be needed. Similar to a solar PPA, this agreement is great for those who simply don’t have the budget to purchase a solar system. PPA agreements are not available in all parts of the country. But if you live in an area that is covered, you should really give this type of agreement some thought.

Two Helpful Websites

EnergySage and Geostellar are two helpful solar industry websites. Both sites include a wealth of knowledge that will help guide you in the right direction. Each site has a solar power calculator that can help you determine the size and cost of your own personal system. You will get to choose between residential and commercial calculations for an accurate estimate that you can build on. After you have used the solar power calculator, you will be directed to an online solar marketplace. Here you will get to choose between different solar power manufacturers and installers that service your area.

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