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Online calculator estimates savings from home solar systems

August 2, 2011 |  1:20 pm

Ever wonder just how much benefit can be gained by adding solar panels to a new or existing home? Well, now you can go online, fill in the requisite details such as the address and the size of the solar system you're contemplating, and get an answer.

Logo The California Energy Commission has launched the Solar Advantage Value Estimator, or SAVE, officials said, to provide a long-term and cost-effective method for calculating the added value of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

"This changes the perception of solar in the housing industry that benefits homeowners. Today's changing real estate market requires a credible method to determine a home's value with solar and this tool is an example of California's leadership to develop new methods to cultivate clean energy," said Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman.

Amy Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Energy Commission, added: "This is a tool for the homeowner. They may be looking to purchase a solar home or they may be selling one. This calculation will give you a monetary value to show potential buyers."

The SAVE calculator will offer an estimate of annual energy savings by using the address and solar system size by automatically combining it with specific climate zone data and local electric utility rates. The calculator is also designed to be used by real estate professionals, appraisers and builders to provide information to potential clients.

On the same Web page, visitors will find other calculators that may provide them with useful and related information. The Clean Power Estimator "calculates the potential costs and benefits of installing a PV system at your home or business."

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's PVWatts calculator "determines the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world." Just launch the viewer and enter a ZIP code to begin.

--Ronald D. White 

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