If you’ve considered a rooftop solar panel system installation, you may know that not all rooftops are created equally.
Some roofs have space or issues, for example, while others may get too much shade. So, is your roof well-suited for a photovoltaic array, or will you need to consider a ground-mounted system?
Mapdwell, a new tool developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), aims to help you answer that question.
You could analyze solar data and engage in a complicated cost-benefit analysis to find out whether a rooftop or a ground-mounted solar system makes better economic sense for you. But if you’re like many homeowners, you’re not exactly eager to perform these complex calculations. To take away this barrier to going solar, MIT has developed the Mapdwell tool.
The tool is easy to use; simply enter your address.
Mapdwell will then provide you with detailed information regarding how solar would work on your roof. You can determine the projected system size, installation specifications, total investment expenses and the number of years it will take to reach the payback point.
So how does it figure all this out?
Mapdwell is a sophisticated technological tool that provides incredibly precise results. The high-resolution tool actually maps out the optimal rooftop placement of photovoltaic panels, based upon the available space, solar radiation, shading and several other factors.
How is the MIT tool so accurate? Mapdwell uses a technique called Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR. Planes equipped with LiDAR are flown over the terrain, and the terrain is mapped using laser light reflections.
This map data is then fed to Solar System, an MIT mapping platform that was developed using advanced algorithms in conjunction with Google’s satellite imagery.
Though Mapdwell plans to cover every major U.S. metropolitan area over the next few years, only a handful of cities have been fully mapped at this time. Fortunately, two other online tools can help take the work out of evaluating your rooftop photovoltaic potential.
Google’s Project Sunroof is a reliable and accurate solar energy calculator created using the company’s comprehensive satellite mapping data and technology. Like the MIT tool, however, Project Sunroof is still in development and currently offers rooftop solar evaluations for only a few states.
PVWatts, a tool from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, offers information to homeowners across the country regarding the operation and estimated costs of a rooftop solar system. As a matter of fact, our exclusive solar calculator uses data from PVWatts to calculate photovoltaic system information for homes and businesses throughout the Intermountain West.
If you live in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada or Idaho, Intermountain Wind & Solar can help you identify the right type of photovoltaic system for you. Contact us today to learn more about what’s great about rooftop solar energy.
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