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One-stop solar shopping

Geostellar offers an online marketplace for homeowners harnessing the sun

So you’re finally making the switch. You've waded through piles of information – the pros and cons, financial and otherwise, and all of the rhetoric that goes with it – and you've decided that solar is the way to go to power your home. But is it really feasible, and if so, who do you hire to do the job?

Geostellar, a Martinsburg, W.Va.-based startup, aims to answer those questions with a few clicks of a computer mouse. After punching in a home address on the Geostellar website, consumers can see how much they can save with a solar system, compare the benefits of buying solar panels vs. leasing them, and assess the merits of some of the industry’s top players.

Using satellite data and the geographic information provided, Geostellar calculates the amount of sunlight that a consumer’s home receives throughout the year. It then breaks down the potential savings in dollars and kilowatt-hours – monthly and over 25 years – and the amount of CO2 that you can expect to offset. It also estimates the value of potential rebates and tax incentives.

“If you’re ready to go solar, we’ll connect you directly with the most qualified solar installers in your area,” the company states on its website. “We’ll also serve as your advocates through the process, helping you evaluate proposals, make the right decisions and select the financing option that’s right for you.”

If you have the capital upfront, buying a solar system might be the best move. If you can’t afford to tie up that much money, leasing is the way to go. The lending institution pays for the installation and the homeowner pays down the loan each month. Geostellar’s Solar Guide compares loan terms and can help tailor an installation plan.

“We’re bringing together the leading local, regional and national solar installers, the most sophisticated solar panel, inverter and systems providers and a broad variety of financing options to deliver solutions that will reliably produce energy for decades to come,” the company states. “By introducing these companies to homeowners that understand the value they bring, we are helping to nurture the growth of an important segment of our economy, known as clean technology or ‘cleantech.’”

To learn more about whether a solar system might be right for your home, go to