A few companies have sprung up recently that map an area's potential for renewable energy, but engineering company CH2M Hill is the first to map on a very detailed scale. Homeowners can use the software to find out the solar potential of their actual rooftop, not just their neighborhood.
The website, sf.solarmap.org, showcases the company's first mapped location, San Francisco. The website uses Google Earth to map the city and residents can look up their own homes, commercial or government sites. When a user types in an address, the map zooms in on a satellite image of that rooftop and displays information on the size and solar potential of the roof, estimated electricity that could be produced and electric bill savings, and the CO2 that would be avoided if that roof generated solar energy.
San Francisco has benefited greatly from this project since the city generally wasn't considered to have a wealth of solar opportunities. The website has revealed solar hot spots and the mayor now has a goal of generating 31MW of solar energy by 2012.
As the company adds more cities to it's mapping database, we could see a dramatic increase in the production of solar energy around the country. This type of software is greatly needed now when most people are ready to get on board with renewables, but they need more information to get the best results.
via Time Magazine
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