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Solar Wizard Calculator

Solar panels on the roof of a house. It's winter, but the sky is bright so the panels will still be generating useful amounts of electricity.

Solar Wizard is a solar PV assessment tool designed to help homeowners and communities evaluate the potential for solar power installations.

Project duration: April 2022 ongoing

The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) has developed Solar Wizard, an easy-to-use online tool, to encourage more individuals and communities to adopt solar energy.

Solar Wizard provides quick, accurate, and impartial assessments of the viability for installing solar photovoltaics (PV) on buildings and homes. It is designed to be used by everyone including homeowners, community groups, local authorities, and anyone interested in making informed decisions and planning investments in solar PV technology.

Benefits of using Solar Wizard

Check out Solar Wizard

What do homeowners, communities and local authorities need to know about solar PV?

To accelerate the growth of solar to the level recommended by the Climate Change Committee (40GW by 2030) people need support and access to trusted impartial information to assess how practical solar PV would be on their individual building and for their specific needs.

Homeowners want quick, accurate and independent predictions about the potential for PV on their homes. Community groups want to identify buildings within their neighbourhoods that offer the best potential for PV to plan community energy projects.

Meanwhile, parish and town councils alongside larger district, unitary and county authorities want to understand the viability of PV for their own buildings and the contribution rooftop solar could make to their climate emergency responses including facilitating group solar buying schemes in their area.

That’s why we’ve created Solar Wizard!

An innovative methodology

Based on an innovative methodology which combines national LiDAR elevation data with CSE’s own in-house building energy models and wider datasets, Solar Wizard provides independent information about solar PV viability at building level alongside advice on next steps and installation.

It also enables assessment of solar PV potential at local geographies like ward or parish level with options for users to download and analyse wider datasets.

The Solar Wizard tool consists of an open and free to use interface providing solar output and cost estimates for individual buildings. Additionally, there is a separate map-based interface allowing the same data to be viewed across a whole area. This second interface is offered as a paid-for service for local authorities. For more information about this service please contact solar@cse.org.uk

Birmingham City Council commissioned CSE to create the map-based interface available for their area. Have a look at this map-based interface here.

Core to CSE’s values is sharing our knowledge and experience and we’ve also made the code for the model that underpins the tool openly available under a Reciprocal Public License here.

Solar power is a key part of our energy transition

Transforming the way we generate and use energy to produce less carbon is key to tackling the climate emergency and reaching the UK’s net zero target. Solar PV on buildings is an important part of the solution, but we more people need to be involved.

Solar PV is one of the most commercially viable net zero technologies, but despite its huge potential, under 5% of the UK’s 29m homes have solar panels. Uptake is hampered by uncertainty over site and rooftop viability and a lack of local, trusted information and support.

At CSE, our data analysts and software developers build analytical tools and models that provide insights into how we can change the energy system and address the climate emergency. The initial development work was  funded through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme.

Collaboration is key

We designed and developed Solar Wizard with expert input from Sharenergy (Which  runs the flagship Big Solar Coop and has supported the establishment of over 60 community solar coops which own and operate solar PV arrays across the UK) and Bath & West Community Energy (which is installing community-owned solar on schools, public and other non-domestic buildings and with a network of investors interested in household solar PV installations).

CSE also consulted widely through our community energy and local council networks working on net zero delivery. The aim of this was to make sure the Solar Wizard calculator is accessible to newcomers to solar PV as well as those who are more informed and in need of further information.

Extensive change is needed to tackle the climate emergency. A greener, smarter and fairer energy system is a big part of this, and everyone has to be involved. The challenge is big, but achievable and Solar Wizard can be a part of the solution.

Solar Wizard will make the benefits of installing solar PV clearer for individual home and building owners, accelerate the decision-making process and enable trusted community PV schemes to flourish.

Check out Solar Wizard

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