Online Solar System Calculators Pros and Cons

You may encounter online solar system calculators when you first start on your solar journey. 

After seeing and hearing all the advertisements about how solar can save you money – you may be motivated to pin those numbers down. Online solar system calculators can seem like a good place to start.   

This tool on various websites provides you with quick pricing for a solar installation. You can get an estimate in minutes!  

But, for homeowners serious about considering solar, the best way to get accurate pricing and financial analysis of solar for their home is to get a solar evaluation by a local solar installer.   

So, what are the pros and cons of online solar system calculators? 


Online solar system calculators are helpful when you’re first starting.   

They’re pretty sophisticated- in addition to asking about your monthly electric bill and utility provider, many ask about the pitch of your roof and shade.    

Some solar system calculators provide net solar savings over the lifetime of the solar system.  These give a glimpse of how long it will take your savings to offset the cost of the solar system.   

They’re quick and easy, and for that reason, they offer an excellent first glimpse at solar pricing.    


So what do online solar system calculators leave out? 

One element that online solar system calculators cannot account for is the usable area of your roof. It takes a professional to understand how obstructions like dormers, chimneys, and vents will affect the system size and the best equipment to use. In addition, equipment variations can significantly affect system costs.   

Additionally, different cities, historic districts, and homeowner’s associations have various regulations for space that a solar installer needs to leave on the roof surrounding the perimeter of the solar system. We call these “setback requirements.”   

Having a local installer familiar with these localized “setback requirements” will be necessary for ensuring your system is sized correctly and passes inspection once complete. Unfortunately, we have not seen any online solar calculators that can take these local requirements into account.   

Some other significant cost variable includes your budget for solar and your goals. A solar specialist will offer different equipment at different pricing, with your budget and goals in mind, to help you reach your solar vision and goals.   

Lastly, financing plays a significant role in solar system costs. The cost of the same solar system can vary widely based on how you choose to finance it.   

Don’t miss out 

We conclude that you’ll undoubtedly miss out on customized details if you rely solely on an online solar system calculator.   

"I don't know if I'm ready for a full evaluation"
The Exploratory Homeowner

Here at Third Sun Solar, we have a consultative, educational, no-pressure sales approach.   

We focus our solar evaluations on customer education, and we give you all the information you will need to make an informed decision. We will be the first to tell you if your home is not a good fit for solar.   

Remember – online solar system calculators are a fine place to start your research. But a no-pressure, free, customized evaluation will get you on the path towards achieving your solar dreams.   

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