Last year researchers at MIT started a project to determine if solar was worth the investment for their Cambridge, MASS campus. http://slice.mit.edu/2014/11/14/solar/ “If 10 percent of MIT’s original campus was covered in solar panels, Mapdwell reports that MIT would pay off the upfront panel costs of $3.1 million in eight years and receive $30,363 in monthly revenue.” In the game of dollars and cents MIT’s scientists aren’t taking any chances. They have determined that in 8 short years the investment to go solar would be completely paid off WITHOUT the use of grants or incentives. The pay off is based only on the amount of money saved in electric per month and money earned from selling energy back to the grid.
The city of Cambridge has now teamed up with the MIT research team to make this kind of data/mapping available to residential home owners in their city. Using data from Google Maps, The National Weather Service, and LIDAR the team is creating a map that will show a home owner the exact amount of annual energy yield and the time for a solar payback based on their homes location and unique roof layout. If the project is successful MIT plans to target other major cities like San Fransisco, New York, and Los Angeles.
You can read more about how they pulled off the actual project here http://web.mit.edu/sustainabledesignlab/projects/CambridgeSolarMap/index.html
Long story short… MIT campus will be going solar.