US: Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have harnessed the power of Google Earth to fine-tune a free solar map. The map helps homeowners and other photovoltaic installers to determine the most effective angle for solar panels in different parts of the state. It also helps to predict the amount of power a solar installation could generate.
CleanTechnica reported that tools like this are going to become increasingly important as solar energy competes for installation dollars with other emerging small-scale alternative energy technologies including micro wind power and fuel cells.
Along with making solar energy a more economical choice for individual homeowners, the new map could help speed the development of more distributed solar networks. Distributed solar power can help reduce the need to build new central power plants, while spreading more green jobs in local communities.