SolarTech, a nonprofit solar collaborative, has released a new report on publicly available solar financial calculators. This report is part of SolarTech's efforts to drive down financial transaction costs for solar PV with a comprehensive survey.
Financial calculators often do not agree on the electrical production and financial payback claims of PV systems, SolarTech says. ‘When customers receive conflicting quotes from different project sponsors, this causes confusion in the buying process,’ notes Todd Grenich, managing partner at Grenich Capital LLC and SolarTech's Finance Committee Chair. ‘The industry needs tools and methods that are predictable and build customer confidence in what is still a nascent, growing industry.’
The study was sponsored by SolarTech Finance Committee in partnership with the Gary J. Sbona Honors Program at San Jose State University (SJSU) School of Business, and a California Energy Commission PIER Grant. SolarTech engaged the accounting and finance department at SJSU to study the various financial calculators available in the public domain.
A team of three students in the Sbona Honors Program agreed to conduct a survey and analysis as part of their senior class project requirement. After considerable research, including interviews with industry experts, the leading contender was NREL's Solar Advisor Model, SolarTech says. The Clean Power Estimator, RETScreen and the NCSC Solar PV Financial Calculator were close seconds.