Cool iPhone Apps that Interact with Solar Power Systems

There is no longer any doubt that solar is the energy of the present and future, with many states now demanding that all newly built homes contain PV panels. Moreover, close to 92% of Americans favor the expansion of solar panels farms, as reported by Pew Research. No other climate action has polled so high, with wind energy coming second at 85%. If you are an iPhone owner and a solar power fan, why not combine both interests and use your phone to learn more about solar power systems and sustainability?

Solar Panels
Photo by Mariana Proenca

iPhone Features Used to Calculate Solar Energy

There are three features in particular that make the iPhone a special choice when it comes to calculating solar energy. These include the GPS, compass, and TiltMeter app. The latter has been found to be impressively accurate in studies. In one study  published in the Peer Journal, focused on the use of the iPhone TiltMeter app, scientists found that the latter had “a good to excellent intra-rater and inter-rater reliability and validity.” The TiltMeter app can be used to receive data on solar installations quickly and effectively. Simply head to the place where your panels would be placed if they aren’t already, and TiltMeter alongside iPhone compatible compass and GPS apps will calculate how much power your panels could potentially generate. The calculation is made purely from your specific location, panel geometry and hour of the day.

Calculating Profit

These same apps can be used to work out how much energy you could save or sell back to a utility. By calculating your family’s average energy expenditure (just check your monthly bill and calculate the energy costs by going solar), you can work out whether or not excess solar energy will be produced. One company making a profit from solar energy is a small RV & Boat Storage company that has added almost 70 solar covered spaces to their installations so as to make and sell surplus solar energy. If you have a business and a large enough space to set up more panels than your business or home needs to thrive, your iPhone could give you a good idea of how much beyond these needs you could potentially generate.

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Finding the Perfect Spot

If you decide to have PV panels placed, iPhone apps like Solar Checker and Photovoltaic will help you glean the ideal tilt for your panels so as to capture the maximum amount of sunlight. If you don’t have a single panel placed yet and you simply want to work out where panels would work best on our roof, check out the Solar Panels Suitability Checker app. This one is the perfect choice for users who wish they had a drone, since it obtains an aerial view of your home so you can make an accurate assessment.

Ease and Flow

Most solar energy apps compatible with iPhones are easy – and some might say intuitive – to use. The Solar Panels Suitability Checker, for instance, has three simple steps to get through. First, you enter your address into a box. Step two is to fine tune your position. The app will provide an aerial view of your home, and you need to drag a red dot that appears to the center of your roof. The app does the rest, showing you the optimal (as well as the ‘ok’ and ‘good’ spots) in which to set up panels.

The Bottom Line

There are many dedicated apps that can help you glean the ideal positioning of solar panels. Even if you already do have panels, your iPhone can also help you discover the ideal tilt or configuration for maximum effect. These calculations can work for a simple home but also for more ambitious projects – including adding more panels to large spaces, with the hopes of selling surplus energy to utilities.

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Jacqueline Cowell

Working as a motoring writer gave Jacqueline Cowell the chance to put her past experience as a mechanic to good use, once she became a mother and decided to stay at home with her two young children. She now puts together pieces for a range of different motoring websites, but in her free time restores classic vehicles with her husband. She is also a regular contributor to Apple Tech Talk.

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