The sun shines everywhere, but not equally. The same array of photovoltaic solar panels can produce enough power for a home, or not even enough to reduce utility bills. But now that may all change, Time reports.
The engineering company CH2M Hill is now working with the Department of Energy to provide Internet solar maps of 25 American cities. The company launched the solar mapping Web portal in June of 2007. The solar mapping project uses Google Earth technology to chart the precise solar potential of neighborhoods. The company recently finished mapping all of San Francisco, allowing residents to enter their address and find out the solar potential of their own home.
On the Web site, residents can also find out data on the size of the roof, its estimated solar energy potential, the estimated electricity that could be produced, the utility bill savings, as well as the carbon reductions resulting from shifting to solar. Estimates of cost to covert to solar, with the federal, state and cities incentives factored in, can also be found. The site also offers links to a number of Bay-Area-solar installers.
Seattle-based 3Tier is also mapping the solar, wind and hydro power potential of the world. The company’s REmapping the World initiative offers utilities and business a place to look for the best locations for wind power projects and ordinary citizens can find out the rough solar potential of their home address.