Is solar power right for you? Google helps you find out


If you've ever thought about how much money you'd save on your electricity bill by installing solar power, but didn't want to go through the hassle of getting an estimate, here's an easy solution to find out on your own.

RoofRay has a beta program that uses Google Maps to let homeowners figure out the solar power potential of their homes.

I tried it out and while I question the cost of the solar panels that the site's calculator came up with, it's an easy way to determine in 60 seconds or less how much roof space you have available for solar panels and how much savings they'll give you over what you're paying now in electricity bills.

You start by typing in your address, and once you find your home on Google Maps, you can draw a few fake solar panels on your roof and tell the program how much of pitch your roof has and what direction it is facing. Pretty simple.

From there you give your current electricity costs, and a quick financial analysis shows how much money you'll save with solar and how long the return on investment is. My quick calculation showed it would take 15 years to break even.

Lastly, it asks if you want a free estimate.