Solar Detectives

The Solar Array at your school quietly converts sunlight to electricity everyday.  But if someone asked you “Is your Solar Array working? and if so, how well?“, how would you answer.  This lesson walks you through the steps to evaluate your school’s solar array, becoming an energy detective in the process.

PVWATT15-sampleresultsStep 1 Estimate how much energy your solar array should produce each year, using PVWATTs estimation tool. You’ll need to know your location,  the tilt angle and azimuth angle of the array, and the DC Power rating [kW] of the solar array.   Follow this link to get started.

The result is that you’ll have an estimated energy production for each month of the year, in units of kilo-watt-hours [kWh].

LagunaSolar-Home_20120820Step 2. Open the  your school’s solar array webpage where data is updated every minute [‘real time’] and recorded so that you can review how it performed over time.





Schools powered by Sunshine. Links to Real time Monitoring and individual MySolarSchool pages.
School NameDistrictSystem Size [kWdc] + link to Real Time MonitoringCityState
Analy High SchoolWSCUHSD460.8SebastopolCA
River City High SchoolWashington USD246.96 West SacramentoCA
El Molino High SchoolWSCUHSD327.68ForestvilleCA
Grant Elementary SchoolPetaluma City Schools61.38PetalumaCA
Piner-Olivet USDPiner-Olivet USD394.8Santa RosaCA




Step 3.  Enter the data collected in Steps 1 and 2 on the chart on this Solar Schoolhouse page.  As you enter the data, the Performance Graph above will automatically update.  When you’re finished, you can print or save the graph as an jpg or pdf.[click on the small icon in the upper right hand corner of chart to find print/save options]

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