Ultimate Solar Calculator

The Ultimate Solar Calculator

Ultimate Solar Calculator

Calculator Terms

Solar project Cost, Size, and Electricity Production

  • Annual kWh – the estimated amount of kilowatt-hours of electricity produced by the solar photovoltaic system every year.
  • Nearest city – (To estimate the solar production factor)
  • Annual output degrade – the annual decrease in the solar production of the solar photovoltaic system, typically 0.5%
  • System size – the size of the solar photovoltaic system in kilowatts (kW)
  • Cost per Watt – the cost of solar photovoltaic system, including hardware and labor, to install the solar photovoltaic system per Watt of capacity
  • Total installed cost – self-evident, I hope
  • 26% federal tax credit – the cash value of the 26% federal tax credit (available through 2021)
  • State tax credit – state tax credit, if applicable
  • Utility/State rebate – utility or state rebate, if applicable

Economic Assumptions

  • General price inflation – estimated inflation in prices, for estimating the long-term investment value
  • Discount rate – an economists calculation of the time value of money. Default of 8% suggests that you’d value 92¢ today as much as $1.00 next year
  • Real discount rate – discount rate minus inflation rate
  • Net metering rate per kWh – the price for solar energy produced, in dollars per kilowatt-hour. Typically the same rate as is paid for electricity from the utility.

Financing Terms

  • Interest rate – the interest rate on the loan
  • Down payment (financing terms) – the down payment on the loan
  • year term – the term, in years, of the loan

Leasing Terms

  • Down payment (leasing terms) – the down payment on the lease
  • Lease price inflation – the annual increase in the lease payment
  • 1st monthly payment – the initial monthly payment for the lease
  • Electricity. price inflation – the expected annual increase in electricity prices (historically 3%, but higher in many areas in the past 5-10 years)
  • 15-year buyout price – the price, in dollars, for a leasing customer to buy the solar array after the lease expires (if available)



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