When electricity prices skyrocket, rising uncontrollably, consumers become slaves to external factors such as invasions of militaristic countries, the policies of dictatorships that own gas or oil, or decisions imposed by electricity companies or governments. The solution is to be self-sufficient in electricity.

More and more people are choosing solar panels, which not only they save you money on your energy billsbut also contribute reduce electricity consumption and curb climate change.

in the moment install solar panelsyou need to know very well at least 3 data: the amount of solar energy that the panels can capture, what are they going to produce to see if it pays, and place to put them. These two applications that we will see allow us to get all this data.

If the panels are not pre-installed on the roof of the building and you can place them in different places, you must first find a place where it gives less shade throughout the year.

For this you can use the application Shadowmar what does it show you a real-time shadow that is created on the building where you live. You can access the application on the ShadowMap network. click on Launch the application to launch the browser version or install the iPhone app.

It works similar to Google Maps. In the upper right corner, enter the name of your city. You then use your fingers or the mouse to find the building you live in. You can tilt the view to see a 3D perspective:

Shadow map

If you press the play button, you will see the shadows that are being generated today. If you want to see shadows all year round, you will have to buy the paid version.

you must look for rooftop spot that receives the least shade throughout the year. If there are several places, decide if you prefer less shade in summer or winter. Please note that the app does not show obstacles blocking the sun, such as chimneys or antennas.

Once you have found the best place to host them, you need to know power of these solar panels to maximize the use of solar energy received by the building.

To do this, you can use the Photovoltaic Geographic Information System website offered by the European Commission. Although, unfortunately, only in English.

This tool allows you to estimate the average monthly and annual energy production of a grid-connected photovoltaic system without a battery. The calculation takes into account solar radiation, temperature, wind speed and PV module type.

The user can choose how to build modules either in a free-standing frame or integrated into the surface of the building. PVGIS can also calculate optimal slope and orientation that maximizes annual energy production. There is a separate tool for sun tracking mounts.

solar panel performance

In the box Address In the lower left corner of the screen, enter our location. Then we look for our building on the map, and mark the exact point where we will put the plates, based on the shadow calculations of the previous application.

On the right we select the type of installation we want to do: connected or not connected to the electrical grid, mobile panels with sun tracking, etc. For example, we used the most common option: panels connected to the electrical network (grid-connected).

Here we must choose type of solar technology (PV technology) if we know it, otherwise we put unknown.

Also panel power (Installed peak PV power). we have delivered 1kW because this way it is easy to extrapolate if you want to go to 2, 3 or more kW. system loss indicates percentage of panel loss, as specified in the plate specifications, and Mounting position be it mobile panels or fixed on the roof.

slope D azimuth mark panel tilt and orientation. We can enter data if we have already decided, or mark the option Tilt and Azimuth Optimization for an application to calculate optimal data. Finally, we touch Visualize Resultsto get data:

solar panel performance

As we can see the month with the highest solar energy production in July is 169 kWh.using 1 kW panels. On the left, important data such as optimal orientation and inclination, annual performanceetc.

Based on these data, it is possible to calculate if you need more or less powerful panels, depending on the percentage of electricity consumption that you want to cover with panels. Also, How much do you need to be self-sufficient with 100% solar energy?