Will DIY Rooftop Solar Work at Your Home? Posted on 06 Jul 12:19

DIY Rooftop Solar Panels

Are you ready to use DIY rooftop solar to put the sun to work powering your home? If so, how will you determine whether roof-mounted photovoltaic panels will work for you?

Although most homes are well-suited for a rooftop photovoltaic array, some roofs lack the necessary space for solar panels. Others may have shading issues. To see if these are problems for you, you could analyze the solar irradiance patterns in your area and perform a cost-benefit analysis.

Or, you could use one of the online tools available to you today.

Mapdwell Can Determine DIY Rooftop Solar Potential

Created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mapdwell is a sophisticated tool that offers you a view of the potential of rooftop solar at your location. And it couldn’t be easier to use; all you need to do is type in your address.

Mapdwell offers detailed information regarding how a photovoltaic array would work on your rooftop.

You’ll see installation specifications for your DIY solar energy system, including the projected system size, how much you will need to invest and how long it will take to reach the payback point. You also can map out your photovoltaic panels’ placement to see how they can be configured to capture the most sunlight.

Unfortunately, Mapdwell is currently limited to just a few U.S. metropolitan areas, but the service plans to expand its coverage to every major U.S city in the near future.

Google’s Project Sunroof Provides DIY Rooftop Solar Data

Project Sunroof, developed using the power of Google Maps, works much like Mapdwell. You simply enter your address to see how well DIY photovoltaic panels may work on your roof.

This tool tells you how much usable sunlight your roof gets each year, how much of your rooftop is shaded and how much space you have available for a photovoltaic array.

Google’s Project Sunroof also recommends a size for your photovoltaic system, based upon your average monthly electric bill. And with this tool, you can see financing estimates that include up-front expenses and financial incentives for going solar as well as projected 20-year costs and savings.

Much like Mapdwell, however, Project Sunroof is currently available only in limited markets. And like any large-scale, automated tool, the data it provides may not be completely accurate or up to date.

PVWatts Calculates DIY Rooftop Solar Potential

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, has an online tool called PVWatts.

PVWatts is designed to help homeowners understand the economic potential of a rooftop DIY solar system. With PVWatts, you enter your address and some other basic information, including your desired photovoltaic system output and electricity costs.

The results show you how much energy your system may produce throughout the year. You can play around with the specifications to determine the best configuration for your rooftop DIY solar system.

Or, you could use the DIY solar energy system calculator here at Solar GOODs.

Our proprietary system design tool uses the same data and technology as the PVWatts app, but when you use our system calculator, you can specify whether you prefer a DIY solar kit or a custom system design. Then, with just a few clicks, you can order your system and it will be on its way.

Visit Solar GOODs today to learn more about installing a PV panel array at your home or business. You’ll be delighted to learn how much money you can save with your own DIY rooftop solar energy system.