Thursday, December 17, 2009

How Much Solar and Wind Power Could You Produce in Your Backyard?

The blue rectangle on the roof of the building left of center is a drawing of the solar array.
Have you ever idly mused about the amount of renewable electricity you could produce in your backyard?

Muse no more.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has created a nifty map-based tool called "In My Backyard" or IMBY (get it?) that enables you to measure how much solar and wind power you could generate at home.

To use it, type your address into the tool. Doing so brings up a Google Maps satellite image of your house.

Next, select the kind of power you want. If you choose solar power, the tool asks you to draw your solar array. Then it tells you things like how many kilowatts your array will generate, what your rebate and tax credit will be, your payback period and other information.

You can even compare your solar power generation with your existing power consumption.

If you select wind energy, the tool asks you to draw the location of each turbine on your property. Then it may or may not give you energy production data, because it doesn't have wind energy information for all locations.

Try it out.

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