Google, the search engine, has developed a tool which can help you determine the effectiveness of your solar panels.
The website “figures out how much sunlight hits your rooftop throughout the year, taking into account factors like roof orientation, shade from trees and nearby buildings, and local weather patterns” and then “combines all this information to estimate the amount you could potentially save with solar panels”, Elkin said.
At the time of this writing, “Project Sunroof “, as Google has named it, only operas in San Francisco and Fresno in California in the USA. Later on, hopefully with more research it will be available in South Africa as wel
The tool uses the same technology as Google Earth so you might already be familiar with the interface, once it is available everywhere else. In the mean time we still need to rely on manual inspections to see how much solar energy the solar panels on your roof could potentially generate.
If you don’t have solar panels on your roof yet, you can use it to see how viable your roof space is for solar energy generation. Any roof with sun access could house some solar panels but ultimately the solar panels needs to face North (in South Africa), and be tilted on an angle between 30 and 40 degrees. If your house, shed, garage or warehouse doesn’t face North, it may mean that you might need to install a couple more solar panels to compensate for the loss.
Read more about it here: http://news.sky.com/story/1537258/hot-spots-new-tool-reveals-solar-power-savings