SolarTech, a nonprofit industry consortium, has launched the Solar Energy Estimate (SEE) Report as an open Web service at SolarHub.com. SolarTech says its goal is to reduce consumer confusion by offering a service similar to the federal government's new-car miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating system.
The one-page SEE report uses standardized calculations combined with the installer's site-specific equipment design variables and local solar insolation data to provide the annual estimated energy production for the solar system. This standardized estimate allows consumers to compare multiple solar PV designs for a specific location, SolarTech explains.
In addition to the underlying calculations (based on NREL's PVWatts, v2 and California CSI EPBB derate factors), it offers a standardized report format, modeled on the MPG window sticker, enabling consumers to find the data of interest for comparing quotes and building consumer confidence. The SEE report includes estimates for the first year energy production, the total energy produced over 25 years and a graphic showing the variation in monthly energy production over a full year.