The tool has been designed to provide help text for each input and output value used in the tool and to guide the user to ensure reasonably accurate information is input into the tool. Of course, having a general understanding of the user’s potential system size, utility rate costs and structure, and local installation costs, as well as rates associated with financing a system using debt are important, and this will increase the reliability of the output graphics and cash-flow projections the system produces.
For users of the tool considering a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), it is also important to have a general understanding of the PPA rate a developer will offer. Often calling a local solar developer and inquiring about PPA pricing will provide a user with general understanding of PPA rates and how local developers approach structuring of the PPA. Similarly, not all operating leases are structured exactly alike, so reaching out to operating leases to learn more about their structure and rates is an important first step before using the tool.