The first question should always be whether your building is energy efficient.  Energy efficiency upgrades should always precede or accompany solar investments.

Next, do a solar spot check on your own.  Is your roof shaded by trees or other buildings?  If your roof is sloped, is there a south-facing slope?  If there is an uninterrupted southern exposure, your home or building may be ideal for solar PV and/or solar hot water.  Even if you have some shading, solar hot water may still work well because solar thermal collectors absorb diffuse, rather than direct, solar radiation.

If your building passes the spot check, then take your investigation to the next level by visiting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s In My Backyard Solar Mapping Tool to determine your building’s potential system size and estimated production.  Visit for an up-to-date, detailed description of incentives available by state, and browse a list of solar installers in your area at or