Tools, apps, and software

  • System Advisor Model (SAM) is a free performance and financial software designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry
  • Hybrid2 is a user-friendly software tool to perform detailed long term performance and economic analysis on a wide variety of hybrid power systems
  • PVWatts Calculator estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected PV energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, small building owners, installers and manufacturers to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations
  • Renewable Energy Ready Home Solar Site Assessment Tool is intended to guide homebuilders in evaluating a proposed site’s solar resource potential.
  • RETScreen is a Clean Energy Management Software system for energy efficiency, renewable energy and co-generation project feasibility analysis as well as ongoing energy performance analysis
  • HOMER Legacy: The Original is a free computer model that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications
  • Skelion is a SketchUp plugin that allows design solar thermal or solar photovoltaic installations starting from a 3d model
  • EasySolar is a cloud-based web platform and mobile app for creating PV designs
  • Polysun Online helps you plan and calculate PV installations in a few steps. Basic simulation is free; optional features can be purchased
  • SolarDesignTool is an online software that allows users to create PV system designs and accurate panel layouts.  Generate customer design options in minutes complete with PDF system datasheet and including data from electrical specifications to array layout diagrams
  • Solargis pvPlanner is a simulation tool for planning and optimization of photovoltaic systems using climate and geographic data at high temporal and spatial resolution and new generation high performance algorithms
  • Solarmodel is an internet platform for designing solar PV installation and for evaluating investment in photovoltaic systems
  • i-Pals WEB is PV simulation software which includes multiple functions as following: designing layout, designing strings, making estimation, simulating power generation and shadow deterioration, comparing different projects
  • Solaripedia
    Tools for solar architecture and green building. Many of these tools are free online. If not, the tool is listed as “fee-based.” These tools can help you design and build sustainably

Information / Educational Resources


Solar Training Courses

Renewable energy association websites

Presentation Slides from Solar Training

MODULE 1 – Welcome & Intro

MODULE 2 – Basic technical info on solar PV

MODULE 3 – Architectural integration_Part_1

MODULE 3 – Architectural integration_Part_2

MODULE 4 – State of the market and Policy

MODULE 5 – Utility Connections Safety & Code Issues

MODULE 6 – Financing options and cost analysis

MODULE 7 – Putting it all together

MODULE 8 – Emerging Technologies and Benefits of Solar PV