Why knowledge is (solar) power

Remember the watchword of late 90s tech bubble?

The Internet changes everything, people would say.

They’re still saying it. Of course, the Internet hasn’t changed everything. (Random examples: breakfast cereal, flat tires and the Washington Nationals’ place in the NL East standings.) But one of the many things that the Internet has definitely and dramatically changed is our capacity for making the global economy more sustainable. In a series of stories for the website News@Cisco, I’ve been looking ways in which networks enable an array of sustainable initiatives.

Today’s story is about a renewable-energy startup that doesn’t intend to generate any energy. Instead, Geostellar is building a global, detailed platform to help developers of solar power, as well as individual homeowners, determine where the best places are to install solar photovoltaic panels. In fact, the entire home-solar industry–companies like SunRun, SolarCity and Sungevity–depends on the Internet to recruit customers and help those customers decide whether solar makes sense for them.

Here’s how the story begins:

Should you put solar panels on your roof? It’s a simple question, but not an easy one to answer.

A West Virginia-based startup company called Geostellar aims to make it easier. Using the most detailed aerial maps ever made of the United States, powerful 3-D imaging technology developed for video games and extensive weather data from public and private sources, Geostellar is developing an Internet-based platform that will help property owners figure out whether their homes or businesses are well suited for solar.

Information technology is key to the solar industry, explains David Levine, the company’s founder and CEO. “Geostellar,” the company says, “precisely computes annual solar potential and short-term production forecasts for every rooftop, lot and field on earth.”

You can read the rest here.

Here’s a video from Geostellar, featuring solar guru Scott Sklar and a snippet of a song from the musical Hair.



  1. Very good information on solar energy in this post. We like you want to help further the solar energy movement. It’s time has come. We need ocean’s of solar panels. This technology can benefit the whole world.

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