The Australian PV Institute (APVI) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have launched their upgraded SunSpot Version 3 tool making the online platform available for free for the first time, thanks to a $946,399 investment from the Australian federal government.
“SunSPOT V3 has been built by engineers at UNSW’s world leading School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering specifically to help people understand what solar can do for them – not to sell them solar,” Dr Anna Bruce, SunSPOT Project Leader and UNSW Associate Professor said.
Australian households and small businesses can use SunSPOT to find out what solar system size will give them the best return on their investment and get an estimate of the cost and annual savings in less than five minutes. Users can also compare the costs and annual savings with different battery sizes.
“It’s the only independent tool tailored to your circumstances that’s publicly available in Australia. All other solar calculators seek to capture personal information and generate sales leads,” Dr Bruce said.
“Now, with nationwide delivery and improvements to its usability and accuracy, SunSPOT will be able to help the vast majority of Australians confidently navigate the complex solar market.”
Previous versions of APVI’s flagship tool have only been available in areas where there is spatial mapping LiDAR data available and the local council has taken up a subscription.
Now there are two versions of SunSPOT available: the premium, council subscription version which maps the area with LiDAR data and the standard version which is free for all Australians.
Users of both versions can also add their smart meter data and electricity tariffs for even more accurate estimates, if desired.
“Householders no longer need to depend on salespeople to educate them. With this latest version of SunSPOT, everyone can get reliable tailored answers to common questions about solar and batteries,” Dr Mike Roberts, SunSPOT Project Leader and UNSW Senior Research Associate, said.
“The APVI has found that Australia has the potential to install 179 GW of rooftop solar capacity – but so far we’ve installed less than 10% of that,” Dr Roberts added.
“179 GW of solar would generate more electricity annually than the total current annual electricity consumption in the national electricity market.”
Jenny McAllister, Federal Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, noted the government is also developing a ‘Solar Consumer Guide’ which will provide further guidance for consumers and will incorporate feedback from key industry stakeholders. The guide is expected to be launched in mid-2023.
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