As more homes across the country convert to solar, those that have yet to make the jump often ask two questions: “How much money does it actually save each year?” and “How much does it cost to install?” To help make the answers to these questions more readily available, Modernize — an online company specializing in finding alternative energy contractors for homeowners — has launched a solar cost calculator it’s calling ModSun. With ModSun, interested solar owners now have the ability to see how much solar panels would cost to install on their homes and the potential output of energy.
By making use of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data, ModSun boasts the capability of mapping each square meter of a rooftop’s size and typical sunlight intensity, along with its relative slope and orientation. Moreover, the data reportedly covers more than 70 million residences throughout all 50 states — in other words, it casts a wide net.
The module works by first analyzing an input address before supplying homeowners with a three-dimensional visualization pertaining to the solar potential their rooftop affords them. Additionally, it provides users with a personalized assessment for offsetting their home’s electricity usage by up to 100 percent.
“With ModSun, we sought to truly understand an everyday homeowner’s thought process about going solar and use that insight to design a simple tool that answers their questions in a way that’s upfront and easy to understand,” said Modernize CEO Jason Polka. “There are so many variables and data points involved in calculating an individual home’s physical and economic potential for solar energy that presenting all this information can be intimidating to homeowners.”
Aside from the 3D visualization, ModSun also calculates the potential output a solar panel system would offer an owner, taking into account their local electrical rates before recommending a specific system size. The feature also analyzes a homeowner’s typical energy usage, their local weather patterns, and federal and state incentives while laying out what options they’d have for purchasing or financing. Modernize hopes, above all, that its system makes converting to solar a more transparent and human-centered process.
Launching July 21, ModSun is completely free to use via Modernize’s website and even allows users to view or share their results anonymously if they don’t wish to speak to a solar specialist right away.