Getting the Public the Best Bang for Their Solar Buck

As a homeowner, I wish I had a tool/app where I could type in my address, available roof space, and project budget, and the tool/app would come back to me with the most optimal solar option for my home based upon price, efficiency, and reliability. The answer would include the optimal local vendor, what panels and inverters to use, where to place the panels, detailed energy generation estimates, economic breakeven point, and expected incentives.


The general public doesn’t have the time or know-how to research all options when it comes to solar to help them come up with their most optimal solar option. We need one easy-to-use model that gives a homeowner or business owner this best option, it needs to be specific to their locale, and most importantly it needs to be trustworthy.


For instance, I recently purchased a home near Grand Rapids, Michigan and am interested to understand my best option for solar. Since I have no true knowledge of the solar vendors in my area, I had to ask a trusted vendor from the east side of Michigan to recommend one I could trust on the west side of the state. This west-side vendor likes to use a very specific brand of panel, but I don’t know if that is the best for my situation. I have a fair grasp of possible incentives, but I may be missing some.


There are a number of existing databases but they don’t all work together. The DSIRE database is good at listing incentives, some solar vendor information can be found at various websites or through chambers of commerce, and the government has a number of databases such as NREL’s solar radiation databases. It would be great to have one trusted place to go to give me the optimal solution.



23 votes
Idea No. 164