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Good candidate for solar power? L.A. County map shows hot spots

April 21, 2009 | 12:24 pm

SolarmapLos Angeles County officials launched a new “solar mapping” website this week that lets residents and business owners determine whether their properties would benefit from solar power.

The website evaluates a building’s potential to generate solar power based on roof size, pitch and shade from nearby trees, buildings and mountains.

By typing in an address, users can check a property’s roof size, space for solar panels, potential electricity production, electricity savings, carbon reduction, nearby solar installations, utility company rebates and solar panel installer information.

The new website, which covers 3,000 square miles, will be featured Wednesday – Earth Day – at the daylong National Conversation on Climate Action conference at Metro Headquarters in Los Angeles. The site cost $93,500 to develop, based on high-resolution imagery and elevation information the county acquired in 2006.

County officials plan to use the site to determine whether to install cost-saving devices such as solar water heaters and panels at 800 county buildings, according to Internal Services Director Tom Tindall.
County officials are also developing a program by July to help residents and business owners pay for solar panels by borrowing money from the county and paying it back through property tax bills.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske