Thinking of Going Solar? Google Your Potential Savings


Solar rooftop systems are on the rise with homeowners across the country. This is no big surprise as solar is one of the lowest cost, renewable energy sources we have available. But there is a bit of an image issue with solar panels, in that many think having a solar panel system is actually too expensive. While there are upfront costs to getting a system installed, the savings achieved on average pay for themselves over and over again. In our region we have many options to review in terms of solar power. There are even solar panel loan options now available, which I wrote about earlier this summer. Living in the digital age that we do, whether you are looking to lease or purchase I strongly suggest you find out what your potential cost savings are before you make your final decision. In true Google fashion, there is now an online tool which will help show you just what your potential savings could be.

Much of the Bay area is part of the pilot phase of Project Sunroof, Google’s latest tool connected to Google Earth. Simply type in your address and you will be shown an aerial view of your neighborhood with roofs color coordinated to show which homes have the most sunlight or shade. The tool then calculates how much money could be saved with a solar rooftop, and provides a list of companies which can provide quotes. As part of the Project Sunroof parameters, solar companies sign up to be included in the resource list. This new Google tool is in the earliest stages, and not all the area companies have signed up, and some may not as they have their own price estimate tools. The big difference with using Google’s Project Sunroof tool is that you will be given the information and then you can choose which company to work with, and you don’t need to register with a company to see your data search results.

As part of the initial pilot program of the tool, only a few locations are currently included. The three regions include the Bay Area, Fresno and Boston. Within the Bay Area currently most of the South Bay along with East Bay, Peninsula and Marin County are covered. Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Santa Cruz Counties will be included at a later date. The tool is being user-tested before going to a larger scale distribution. Project Sunroof uses data which Google already has and analyzes the hours of usable sunlight per year based on daily weather patterns for neighborhoods. It also shows the estimated square footage which would be available for solar panels. This is done based on a 3-D modeling of roofs and nearby trees as provided from Google Earth images. With this information the Google tool then compares local electricity rates and solar incentives to provide an estimate of net savings with a 20 year solar lease.

By having options for cleaner, less expensive energy we can all help the environment and our own wallets. A solar panel rooftop is one great option worth looking into. If you are considering this as an option, I encourage you to check out Project Sunroof so you can see the potential savings yourself. If you do switch to solar panels, they will also add great value to your home. When you are ready to buy or sell a home, we at Haylen Group are here to help you with all of your real estate needs! If you are unsure what your options are, call Helen Chong at (408) 800-LIST or email at You can also visit us at our website for available listings and additional information.


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