Idea: Solar Energy Test Kit

I wish that I could put something the size of, say, a briefcase on my roof, leave it there for a month, bring it down, plug in a USB cord, and read “A solar water heater would have generated X% of your hotwater needs. A PV installation of X panels would have generated Y KwH.”

Basically: a single solar cell plus a data logger. I see a market in Hawaii (small) and the Southwest mainland (big).

Make it cheap enough and sell it to the geek market even. I suppose for the geek market you’d have to add WiFi connectivity.

5 thoughts on “Idea: Solar Energy Test Kit

  1. Pingback: Idea: Solar Energy Test Kit | Reduce Bill

  2. While this might be a neat toy, there are quite a few existing tools to give you the same sort of information, based on historical data.

    This appears to be down, but I swear worked not long ago:
    http://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html

    There’s also http://www.roofray.com/
    They appear to be using the same data sources for insolation, but with a fairly keen front end, plus doing the math for you….

  3. Those are neat tools (and certainly the price is right!) but the places I’ve lived have serious microclimates. Additionally, things like tree-coverage may be significant.

  4. Pingback: Posts about Solar Water Heater as of March 17, 2009 | Atlas Solar Solutions

  5. When I got an estimate for solar power last year, the company brought out a machine to perform just that task. It didn’t have to sit there for two weeks — it just took a lot of measurements.

    It figured out the number of hours of daylight my roof would get every day of the year (and told me that unless my neighbor cut down her trees, solar wouldn’t be worthwhile).

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