Are solar panels right for you? Google’s new mapping tool can help you decide

Are solar panels right for you? Google’s new mapping tool can help you decide

Solar panels are all the rage these days. But it’s a complicated process to figure out whether a rooftop system makes financial sense for your particular home. What kind of roof do you have? How much sun does it get? What kind of financing is available? How much are your electricity bills right now? The answers to these questions can vary from place to place, home to home.

So it’s welcome news that Google wants to make this all much, much simpler with its brand new Project Sunroof tool. Plug in your address, and Google uses its aerial imagery capabilities to help you figure out whether solar power might be a worthwhile idea. (The project is still in its early stages; here’s Google’s announcement from Monday.)

For now, data is only available for selected parts of the country. But let’s look at a sample address given in Redwood City, California. The tool first calculates both how big the roof is and how much sun it gets per year:

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 1.51.20 PM

Next, you can fine-tune the estimate to figure out whether solar panels on your roof make financial sense, by plugging in your monthly electric bill, choosing a financing option (leasing versus loans versus buying), and so forth…

 

Source: Vox

Date: September 2015

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