Google's Project Sunroof Can Tell You How Much Solar Could Save You
Could some new solar panels on your roof actually pay for themselves? Is there enough direct sun where you live? Do you have too many trees, or is your house poorly angled to take advantage of the rays you do get? Maybe your roof is just too small. It could be that solar panels would pay for themselves, but the payoff isn't until after you plan on selling your home. It is tough for the average consumer to get straight answers to these kinds of questions. If you are just curious, or actually shopping for solar solutions, give Google's Project Sunroof a try.
In short, Project Sunroof allows you to enter your address, and utilizing Google Maps and some 3D modelling, your roof shape, angles, angle toward the sun, and shading from trees or large objects, your solar potential can be determined. The Google Maps interface you are presented with shows your home with the solar exposure highlighted with gradients representing solar intensity.
Once you have confirmed this is your house, use the slider tools to approximate your monthly electric bill, choose lease, loan or buy, and even pick a provider.
It is ridiculously easy to use, and might even provide you with a question or two when you get a quote from a solar company.
This application does not take into account other factors that could affect your installation, such as the net-metering arrangement your local utility employs, federal or state credits for solar, taxable value of your installation or the increase to the value of your home due to a solar installation. If only there was an app for that!