Editors' Blog

Green Living editors dish on the latest trends and happenings in sustainability.

So you have made the decision to take a step towards being green and you decide to instal solar panels on your home. But how do you know if your home is not in the best location for solar panels? How do you determine if this is the best use of your money when it comes to greening your home without spending money on an assessment?

Well, we The Editors at Green Living, have found a way to help you make decisions when it comes to the question “to install or not to install” solar panels. Check out SolarRating Online!

SolarRating OnLine gives you the information needed to confirm if solar technology at your home is a smart investment. Green Power Labs' innovative site assessment tool, determines a homes' suitability to solar technology used either to heat water or to generate electricity. Suitability refers to the amount of energy it is possible to produce at a home using solar technology to reduce a family's long term energy costs by replacing a part of the current energy source - oil, gas, propane or grid electricity - with energy taken from the sun.

SolarRating OnLine gives each home a color-coded rating and is the first step in understanding how solar technology might be used to reduce your family's energy costs.

Each of The Editors went online to determine if our homes were right for solar panels. The process took about 10 minutes to walk through. First you enter your address. Followed up by, which way your building/home faces, where on your roof you would place the solar panels (and at what angle your roof is), finished with if there are any trees or building that may cast shadows on your panel. The site will then ask you to create a log-in name (but don’t worry they won’t market to you, and site is ad free!). Your report is then generated.

We were surprised to see some our homes that we thought would be great for solar panels, were only “marginally suited for panels” versus others that were “close to ideal”. The site took into account the weather patterns for our neighborhoods when calculating the power that could be generated by solar panels.

Here was the results for one of our editor’s who home ranked “close to ideal”:

  • For a family of four using a two flat plate glazed collector solar water heating system on the chosen roof/wall segment the Sun could provide 42% to 51% of their domestic hot water energy needs.
  • For a family with average daily power consumption of 23kWh using a 2.4 kWpeak solar PV system on this roof/wall segment the sun could provide 28% to 34% of their power needs.

The site does recommend having a full inspection done but this is a great place to start!