Things to consider before installing solar panels
Have you ever wondered how much electricity you could generate if you installed solar panels on your roof? There are several factors to consider when trying to determine the answer to this question. There are several items to consider but I’m just going to list a few of the main ones. How much direct sunlight does your roof receive, do you have a lot of trees shading your home, do you live in an area that has a lot of sunny days?
Google is here to help
To simplify the process of answering these questions Google kicked off an initiative a while back called Project Sunroof. They took data from Google Maps, weather data from the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), and different financial sources to create a tool. Using the Project Sunroof tool you simply put in your home address and click on the “Check My Roof” button. Google will then return an estimated solar installation size but be sure to tweak your average monthly electric bill to get something more precise. The tool provides a lot of helpful output to review.
Be sure to do all your research
Just remember this tool provides an estimate and you will still want to contact a local company for something accurate. Yelp and Angie’s List both offer reviews for solar panel installation companies. Another good option is to ask your neighbors who have solar what they think. Finally if you live in an neighborhood with an HOA be sure to check their rules/guidelines to ensure you comply.