A new solar calculator is letting Australians forecast cost savings on panels and batteries. 

Households, small businesses and councils all over Australia can now access free, tailored and independent solar and battery savings estimates with the Australian PV Institute’s SunSPOT V3 solar calculator.

The new version includes significant upgrades, more accurate estimates, a new user-friendly interface, and a version that is freely available across Australia without a council subscription.

“Finding out how much you can save with a battery, or what size solar system can fit on your roof, or getting estimates on the best system size for your electricity usage has never been simpler or safer,” says Dr Anna Bruce, SunSPOT Project Leader and Associate Professor of Renewable Energy Engineering at UNSW.

“SunSPOT V3 has been built by engineers at UNSW’s world leading School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering specifically to help people understand what solar can do for them - not to sell solar.”

“It’s the only independent tool with this level of analysis available to the public in Australia. All other solar calculators seek to capture personal information and generate sales leads.

“Now, with nationwide delivery and improvements to its usability and accuracy, SunSPOT will be able to help the vast majority of Australians confidently navigate the complex solar market.”

In two minutes, SunSPOT users can find out what system size will give them the best return on their investment and get an estimate of the cost and annual savings.

They can also compare the costs and annual savings with different battery sizes, answering the question in many people’s heads: “Should I get a battery?”

“The APVI has found that Australia has the potential to install 179 GW of rooftop solar capacity - but so far we’ve installed less than 10 per cent of that,” says Dr Mike Roberts, SunSPOT Project Leader and Senior Research Associate in the School for Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at UNSW. 

“179 GW of solar would generate more electricity annually than the total current annual electricity consumption in the national electricity market.

“Rooftop solar has a leading part to play in reducing Australia’s emissions,” he said. 

There are two versions of SunSPOT available: the premium version that involves mapping the area with LiDAR data and is paid for through a subscription by the local council, and the standard version that is available everywhere without the council subscribing.

The premium subscription-based version of SunSPOT identifies the best areas for solar panels with red dots on the rooftops.

Spatial mapping LiDAR data enables it to read the shape, slope and orientation of the rooftop. It can also estimate the amount of shading across the year on every 0.25m2 area on the roof, and the impact this has on bill savings. This is combined with Bureau of Meteorology weather data for the local area.

Users of both versions can add their smart meter data and electricity tariffs for even more accurate estimates.

More details are accessible here.