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Solar PV (Electric) Energy Self Assessment

The Solar PV (Electric) energy self assessment tool was developed to increase renewable energy awareness and utilization in agriculture. Solar electric systems, often referred to as solar photovoltaic or PV systems, can provide reliable electricity for a home, farm or business. The Solar PV energy calculator is designed to estimate the size of a solar electric system according to either the amount of electricity you would like to generate or the maximum investment you are willing to make. Before considering a solar electric system, it is recommended that you maximize the efficiency of electricity use on your operation by upgrading lighting and installing energy efficient appliances for the residence and equipment for the farm operation. The energy self assessment tools can help you identify potential energy efficiency improvements.

This tool does not provide a site-specific renewable energy assessment. This tool does not account for trees, topography or buildings that can shadow the collectors. Before purchasing a solar electric system, a site assessment by an experienced site assessor is recommended to identify the best location for solar electricity production. We also recommend getting multiple installation quotes, as prices vary widely.

Solar PV Basics

What components are needed for a solar electric system and what do they do?
How does a solar electric module generate electricity?
Solar modules produce DC power but I have AC appliances, how can I use the power?
What sites are best suited for solar electric systems?
What types of solar electric systems are there?
How are solar electric systems rated or sized?
What is a tracking system and what are the advantages of this type of system?
How can I use solar power on my farm without spending lots of money?

Financial Considerations

How much does a solar electric system cost?
What is Net Metering?
Are solar electric systems reliable?
How much maintenance is required?
What types of incentives or tax credits are available for solar electric systems?

Installation Information

I am interested in using solar electricity. How do I get started?
How can I find a reputable installer of solar electric systems?
How can I invest in renewable energy without owning my own equipment?