3D rooftop modelling tool highlights solar savings

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a new 3D modelling tool that will allow consumers to estimate the benefits of installing rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said the tool was part of a suite of updates to the Australian Solar Map, developed by the Australian PV Institute (APVI) with $436,000 of ARENA support. The solar maps involve a collaboration that includes data from the Bureau of Meteorology, PVOutput.org, the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Clean Energy Regulator.

“The new, freely available tool allows consumers and installers to select a rooftop and receive an estimate of annual electricity generation, financial savings and emissions offset from installing solar panels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“It currently includes data for central areas of six Australian cities and the technology provides a platform that may be expanded to cover more regions of Australia.

“The interactive map allows users to zoom down to rooftop level and see the surrounding shading, orientation and solar resource available.

“Users then have the ability to alter the system design and customise the feed-in tariff in their area to improve the accuracy of savings estimates.”

More than 19,000 people have already visited the solar map website.

APVI chief executive officer Lisa Miller said the maps are important resources for understanding the increasing role of PV in Australia, incorporating live generation data, historical information and interactive tools.

“This map is an important part of the work of the APVI to support the increased development and use of PV via research, analysis and information,” said Ms Lisa Miller.