In our daily work at Ecohouse, we get the chance to roam around on roofs, providing us a unique opportunity to breathe fresh air, and to get a sense of scale of the neighborhoods where we work.  

It also provides a sense of scale of what I like to call the “solar window,” the time of day that each spot on a roof will receive sun.  While some roofs have the luxury of no shade, and thus maximum production, others have shade here and there. Maybe it’s nearby trees, or chimneys, or adjacent roofs.

These all are taken into account as we design a system for an Ecohouse customer.  Through satellite imagery, sophisticated software, and climbing on the roof during our site assessments, we give our customers an accurate projection of the amount of electricity that a system can generate.  This information also helps us to plan the optimal layout of panels on a roof.

We are also looking at the direction of each roof.  True south is the very best, but everything from east to west also works very well.  In fact, an east-facing roof will generate over 85% of what a south-facing roof will produce.

A fun part of the job is visualizing where the sun moves over the course of a day, and over the course of the seasons.  Our software can provide a high level of detail on the path of the sun, and the irradiance on each part of a roof. Important enough.  But I like the feeling of imagining the sun as it moves across the sky, giving off light that we can capture and turn into electricity.

So, go outside, look at your roof, and peer at the sun, feeling its warmth and its potential.  Here’s your chance to create your own clean power. Like I said, it’s a beautiful view from a roof…