Sandia’s Tool That Estimates The Value of Solar Photovoltaic Power System

Sandia’s Tool That Estimates The Value of Solar Photovoltaic Power System

Domestic and commercial enterprises with photovoltaic installations face incessant valuation, and this is a real challenge, especially to the nation’s real estate industry. However, a new gadget developed jointly by scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories, and Solar Power Electric seeks to find a solution to this appraisal issue. In a bid to regulate the appraisal, scientists from Sandia partnered with Jamie Johnson of Solar Power Electric™ to develop the PV Value™ which is licensed by Sandia.

The research is currently being sponsored by the Department of Energy under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The electronic tool seeks to provide property values, toreal estate agents and mortgage underwriters with precise values for PV systems. Geoff Klise, the Sandia researcher who participated in development of the gadget says that lack of standard valuation practices posed a challenge in valuation methods for PV installations that have been used in the past. He further adds that lack of PV systems here and there on property hinders proper comparison. Appraisers base the value of a property’s increase on a number of factors such as comparing other properties that have undergone the same change in addition to the current market conditions. Klise also notes that the value of electricity produced and potential system lifetime savings are not considered when PV systems are undervalued. Even with the lack of comparable, the development of a standard methodology for evaluaters will benefit homeowners to augment the increased incentives for PV installation, even if they move out later after installation.

In order to determine the current value of a PV system, the gadget employs the use of an Excel spreadsheet which is fixed to instant lending information and market variations. An evaluter enters information such as the ZIP code to determine the system’s location, the system size in watts, and a factor that considers shading (the derate factor) among other factors such as tracking, tilt and azimuth in the spreadsheet which then returns the system’s value as a function of the pre-determined spread of risk. Based on the PVWatts™ simulator developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the solar resource calculation in the spreadsheet can value a PV system in any location within the U.S.

Just like the valuation industry’s income approach, Johnson said that the PV Value™ enables the person to better determine the present-day value of energy that a PV system is expected to generate in the remaining period of its useful lifetime. The system also indicates that besides enabling property owners who seek to install PV systems to determine the remaining present energy value for their future PV system. The tool allows them to estimate why to buy and what a property’s net worth is in case a sale is done.

The Appraisal Institute which is the largest professional association of real estate appraisers in the U.S. is currently employing the spreadsheet tool. Sandy Adomatis, SRA, a real estate valuer and member of the Appraisal Institute say that this tool is efficient with regards to valuation. The tool has a link with the recent Residential Green and Energy Efficient Supplement of the Appraisal Institute. He further adds that the simple interface of the spreadsheet is user-friendly and direct. It enables generation figures within a short time as long as the appraiser inputs correct figures.

The tool can be used for income generating domestic features such as wind turbines despite being licensed for solar PV installations. To download the spreadsheet, user manual and webinar for a deep insight about the tool visit

Located in Port Charlotte, Fla., Solar Power Electric™ is an electrical contracting and solar integration company that specialize in the installation of photovoltaic systems for commercial and residential purposes.

Source: DOE and E-science

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RPN's contributed to this report.

Professional freelancer in Green Technology and Scientific Development. Educational background in the field of Human Resources Management.

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