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Google’s Project Sunroof Encourages Solar Solutions

Photo: Courtesy of Julian Wildner

Reversing decades of global warming is a daunting task, but every person can take steps to reduce individual carbon footprints.

Solar energy at home is one solution; it reduces emissions and cuts down on your personal energy costs. However, many homeowners are reluctant to move to solar because they believe it to be too costly to install and maintain. Google’s Project Sunroof debunks some of the myths surrounding solar energy while showing the benefits so more can take advantage of the sustainability of this environmentally-friendly energy source.

Preparing for solar

Project Sunroof uses 3-D data from Google Maps and Google Earth to help homeowners determine if their house is a good placement for solar panels.

Solar installation involves four pieces: solar panels made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight to direct current (DC) energy; an inverter that converts the DC energy to alternating current (AC) energy used in most homes; a monitoring system that provides information about your solar energy collection; and the utility grid so you have energy without sunlight and to share extra energy you gather.

Myth-busting and benefits

People may be interested in solar energy but have not pursued it because of negative stories or myths. There are some popular myths offset by the actual benefits of solar energy.

First, that it’s too expensive. While there are expenses involved in setting up rooftop solar panels, those costs are offset by savings in your electric bill, potential tax credits and other rebates. You don’t have to wait for your savings; they start immediately. 

Second, that it won’t work in cloudy areas. While the efficiency of solar panels decreases in cloud cover, you are still able to collect energy. Even in cloudy areas you may draw enough sun to eventually reach net zero energy consumption.

And last, that it hurts the value of the home. In fact, the opposite is true, with research showing solar panels can improve the resale value of your home by nearly $6000 per installed kilowatt.  

For California residents, turning to solar solutions will save money while doing your part for the environment.

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