According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles County officials have launched a new "solar mapping" Web site, lacounty.solarmap.org, that lets residents and business owners determine whether their properties would benefit from solar power. The site evaluates a building's potential to generate solar power based on roof size, pitch and shade from nearby trees, buildings and mountains.

By typing in an address, users can check a property's roof size, space for solar panels, potential electricity production, electricity savings, carbon reduction, nearby solar installations, utility company rebates and solar panel installer information. Internal Services Director Tom Tindall says county officials plan to use the site to determine whether to install cost-saving devices, such as solar water heaters and panels, at 800 county buildings.

County officials also are developing a program to help residents and business owners pay for solar panels by borrowing money from the county and paying it back through property tax bills.

Copyright Information Inc.