NIWA have released a great little solar calculator to benefit home owners view the potential for solar exactly where they live. This tool is awesome if you are looking at getting solar panels or any other device that utilizes the energy from the sun such as an HRV because you will be able to see what sort of energy you should expect from the device you are going to use. Here is what they say about it
What does SolarView do?
SolarView gives an estimate of the available solar energy at a particular location for people considering installing a solar energy system. The program allows users to determine the amount of solar energy (insolation) that would be received at a given location based on local topography (landscape), orientation of the solar panels and other obstructions,such as buildings. Here is an example from my area where I live in Christchurch
How does it do it?
The program combines an image of the local landscape with irradiance data from the nearest climate station. This is typically more than 10 years of “sunlight hours” data. You should be able to recognise the local landscape for each location entered into the system. The x-axis of the plot is in degrees bearing, i.e.west (-90°), North (0°), and east (90°).
The 5 curves are the path of the sun on the 21 Dec (summer solstice) , 21 Jun (winter solstice), 21 Mar (autumn equinox), 21 Aug & 21 Oct and the numbers indicate how much solar energy is available on that day.
A homeowner, or their solar energy specialist, can use this information to determine what savings installation of solar panels or solar water heating would be likely to give. The tool can also help determine which part of a roof is best for solar energy given the unique surroundings and situation of the home.
On average, New Zealand receives about 2000 hours of bright sunshine each year. In energy terms, New Zealand’s solar energy resource is about four kilowatt hours per square metre, per day. To put that into perspective, if every New Zealand home had a three kilowatt solar panel array, they would collectively generate enough power in a year to satisfy over a quarter of New Zealand’s annual residential electricity needs.
This tool is going to be great for the people investigating what ways to harness the suns energy and what will be effective and when. Its a great tool also for the experts that are talking about the suns energy and when it is the best and will be able to be used by these experts to know how much energy they are likely to get out of the sun for any instalation at any given time of the year. Well done Niwi on such a great tool. This is just another step in the direction in helping Kiwi’s homes become sustainable homes.To try it out for yourself go to their page here