PVWatts is a free solar calculator created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
PVWatts “Estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, small building owners, installers and manufacturers to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations.” -PVWatts.nrel.gov
Created by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), the NOVA Solar Map demonstrates to homeowners and business owners how much solar energy can be generated by their rooftops. The map is the first of its kind in Northern Virginia.
The NOVA Solar Map is a great conversation starter, as it provides potential solar system sizes and the potential electricity savings based upon the current electric rate of 11 cents per kilowatt hour. We will always recommend having a professional perform a satellite and/or site assessment.
SAM is a free computer program created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. It is a more advanced tool than PVWatts, allowing analysis of more than PV solar, and is typically used by industry professionals.
“The System Advisor Model (SAM) is a performance and financial model designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry; Project managers and engineers, Policy analysts, Technology developers, and Researchers.” -Sam.nrel.gov