Solar Tool Hits Sweet Spot

March 20, 2007
Solar & Efficiency Special
A version of this article appears in the Solar & Efficiency Special issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more articles about Trends
The SunEye, a solar-access and shade analysis tool from Solmetric, is really easy to use. It is so simple that you don’t even have to adjust the compass for magnetic north, as you do with other units to ensure accurate orientation. First, simply use the built-in compass and orient the unit south. The SunEye lets the user select a city near the location where the site survey is being taken and automatically adjusts for it. Then, take a snapshot with the unit’s fisheye lens and digital camera. The snapshot is then run through the software and instantly produces a report giving the available sunshine, and what the shading effects from trees or buildings will be.

The snapshot lets the user instantly identify the best place on a roof to install the system. Because the SunEye is digital, in a matter of minutes the solar installer can take readings of various other locations that a client might think are preferable and have the results just as quickly. 

The unit has a built-in editing program so the solar installer can erase the shading effects of, for example, a tree and then show the client what the result of trimming that tree would be. All readings can be downloaded to the Solmetric software on a laptop computer, and the reports can be sent via e-mail or printed.

Being able to take multiple site surveys and generate the results on the spot is really a huge improvement for the solar industry, because it minimizes the mistakes that installers often make in the field when taking measurements. This instrument also greatly cuts time spent in the field, since the solar installer can complete most of the field reporting before he or she goes back to the office.

This instrument will produce the readings needed to meet the new requirements for the California Solar Initiative for actual production estimates and will ensure that the solar industry doesn’t suffer the same fate that it did in the ’70s with solar hot water systems. Poorly designed systems and underperformance have always been the bane of the solar industry. Finally we have a tool for field measurement that ensures accurate site appraisals. Giving our clients a realistic expectation of what their solar-electric systems will produce is something the industry has needed for a long time.

Richard O’Connell is the owner of the O’Connell Solar Company, which is based in Santa Rosa, California. He can be reached at

For more information:
To learn more about the SunEye, visit At press time, the cost for the SunEye was $1,355 plus shipping and handling.

  • 1
  • NEXT
  • LAST
Click here to view this article on a single page.
© Home Energy Magazine 2023, all rights reserved. For permission to reprint, please send an e-mail to
Discuss this article in the Renewable Energy group on Home Energy Pros!

Add a new article comment!

Enter your comments in the box below:

(Please note that all comments are subject to review prior to posting.)


While we will do our best to monitor all comments and blog posts for accuracy and relevancy, Home Energy is not responsible for content posted by our readers or third parties. Home Energy reserves the right to edit or remove comments or blog posts that do not meet our community guidelines.

Related Articles
SPONSORED CONTENT What is Home Performance? Learn about the largest association dedicated to home performance and weatherization contractors. Learn more! Watch Video