I love this new 20% project from Google. They take a bunch of high-resolution Google Earth data and figure out how much sunlight individual houses get. Currently, this is live for the Bay Area and Fresno in California, plus the Boston area. So you can get a pretty good estimate of whether solar panels would save money on your house. Hint: solar makes sense for a lot more people than you'd think!
You can even connect directly with several different solar panel providers if you'd like to start saving money now. I hope that Google expands this even more widely at some point.
Edit: By the way, here's one more reason why this kicks butt. The price of solar is dropping so much that the cost of solar panel modules isn't the primary factor as much anymore. Instead, the overall cost of solar installation, including cost for solar installers to find customers, is one of the larger factors now. If Project Sunroof can help solar customers and solar installers find each other more easily, that just pushes solar to be even cheaper and more widely accessible. If you're interested, see http://rameznaam.com/2015/08/10/how-cheap-can-solar-get-very-cheap-indeed/ for a little more about this.
- Peter Mead ITSEO SEM Consultant, present
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