A tool to find out if it is relevant to install solar panels on your roof

A tool to find out if it is relevant to install solar panels on your roof

Exposing yourself to the sun, and savings. At a time when energy prices are bursting all the way, when we have to worry seriously about the planet, when we see its purchasing power melting under the heat wave of inflation, the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL) is launching its “solar cadastre”, a tool that could be of great interest to individuals. It allows each inhabitant of the metropolis to determine quickly and easily whether it is appropriate to install photovoltaic panels on their roof.

We will immediately silence the gossip, yes it is possible to exploit solar energy in the North. In Lille, depending on the year, you can accumulate between 1,600 and more than 2,000 hours of sunshine. Admittedly, it is less than Nice, and its 2,700 hours of sunshine in 2021, but we are doing quite well in the face of clichés. Especially since the photovoltaic panels do not only work in direct sunlight, but also by perceiving the diffuse radiation of the clouds.

Satellite images and laser measurements of buildings

According to the explanations of the MEL, the “solar cadastre” put online in recent days allows “in a few clicks to identify the potential for sunshine of a roof and thus, the relevance of installing or not installing solar panels”. This comes in the form of a cartography, plan version or satellite image, on a Web interface in which you just have to enter your address. Then appears your home whose roof is pixelated in different colors: from yellow, the sunniest, to blue, the least well exposed. The data compiled from satellite images and laser measurements of the buildings are impressively precise.

The tool takes into account many parameters, shadows from neighboring buildings, trees, orientation of the roof, to deliver a quantified report. For the Palais des Beaux-Arts, for example, the solar cadastre estimates that 42% of the 12,000 m2 of roof can be used for photovoltaics. The tool also calculates the “solar potential” of the exploitable roof surface. Still with the example of the Lille museum, the 5,113 m2 of solar-powered roof would produce more than 860,000 kWh per year, or the equivalent of the average annual consumption of 183 homes.

For Audrey Linkenheld, Metropolitan Vice-President in charge of climate, ecological transition and energy, “the solar cadastre is a first approach to considering an investment in solar panels”. Because then, you still have to check the feasibility of the project, invest and make your investment profitable before you can shout that you’re heating your shower water for free.


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