Geostellar maps the coasts for solar

A Geostellar Screen GrabWant to figure out your home or building’s solar potential, enter your address at Geostellar’s Web site and see what comes up. Following a launch earlier this year Geostellar is going coastal. The company uses advanced mapping systems to determine the potential for solar power at a given site down to the square meter.

The service helps homeowners determine how much potential their roof has for generating solar energy and whether or not it makes sense at their location. The company launched in West Virginia earlier this year—not the most solar friendly market—but it allowed the company to gain valuable experience but an ideal test for the company as it worked to expand its services to more of the U.S.

Since then it’s been growing quickly, which is good, because while tools like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Prospector offer larger scale data on solar irradiation, there are few, if any, tools that offer the granularity over as wide an area as Geostellar now does. It announced on December 12 that it’s tools are now available in a broader geographic region, including the Mid-Atlantic, New England and West Coast.

The company creates a score for each rooftop by making a number of calculations based on potential energy production, savings and benefits from installing solar on a rooftop. It also calculates estimated savings of the system on a yearly and lifetime basis. In developing the score, software performs a number of calculations based on local weather patterns and other factors including a three-dimensional estimation of all the angles on a home or roof’s surface ares. It also measures the intensity of sunlight on each individual panel in the hypothetical array over the course of a typical year. “We move the sun through the virtual sky in 15-minute increments over the course of the year to model the incidental solar radiation, or sunlight, that will reach each of your solar panels for conversion to electricity,” the company explained.

The service also connects home and business owners with selected solar installers in the homeowner’s area, including—where available—companies that can provide third party financing. For instance, it recently partnered with installer Real Goods Solar in a number of locations, including Colorado (which isn’t technically on either coast). “Real Goods Solar is pleased to be working with Geostellar on the launch of its innovative platform,” said Kam Mofid, CEO of Real Goods Solar.  "As one of the nation’s leading solar companies with years of commitment to 100 percent clean renewable energy, we look forward to this partnership to help new customers realize the wonderful economic and environmental benefits of going solar.”
Though the company did its soft launch in West Virginia in September, it’s already won a number of awards including being selected as part of the Global Cleantech 100 and the recognized as one of the top 10 in the Global Cleantech Cluster Association’s 2012 Later Stage Award Global Top Ten.

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