Phone App Oriented Toward Solar Installers

The orientation and sunlight exposure of a solar panel can have a significant effect on its power production. Common tools of the trade used by solar installers to find the optimal orientation for a solar array can be very expensive and cumbersome to carry up onto a roof. However, SunFinder, a new smartphone app can help solar installers determine the proper tilt angle and azimuth of an array, using only their smartphones, according to Dunmore, the company behind the product.

SunFinder uses GPS technology and weather data from thousands of locations around the globe to estimate the annual production of an array installed at a specific tilt angle and azimuth. An installer need merely position her phone in the proposed location of a solar array and SunFinder will display the estimated power production in an easy-to-read graphical format. It also automatically compiles data on position coordinates, azimuth, tilt, reference data points, yearly solar radiation, and yearly average production into email reports for fast and easy distribution, Dunmore said.

sunfinder-app

image via Dunmore

While this smartphone app is not a substitute for a comprehensive professional shading and siting analysis, it can provide solar power installers with a valuable tool for capturing array orientation information, without having to write anything down. “It’s the solar module equivalent of a stud finder,” said Dumore’s Michael Sullivan. “Taking the guesswork out of exactly where to install the module will save installers both time and money.”

In addition to solar installers, SunFinder could also be useful for anyone who needs to know how much sunlight a specific area receives in a year – farmers, gardeners, researchers, builders, etc. The SunFinder app is available for free in the iTunes and Android markets.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).