Google solar powering up its Project Sunroof

4 Jan 2016

A few months after its release, Google’s solar power evaluation tool is already being expanded throughout the US – a global roll-out must only be a matter of time.

Not content with mapping the globe, correcting your rushed search terms, translating ‘I would like to buy a beer’ into French, or overhauling the motor industry, Google is also looking to help its customers save a bit of money on their bills.

Jumping into more energy efficient practices often cost significant up-front funds, offset by medium- to long-term gains. However, working out the true return can often prove difficult, especially when it comes to solar energy.

Can you trust the salesperson? Probably not. Can you ask around? Maybe, but again each case is different. Your home might not get as much sun as a neighbour up the road, for example.

So, with that in mind, Project Sunroof was set up last August, taking advantage of Google’s immense global mapping.

Just pop in your address

If you lived in one of the few select areas taking part in the trial – San Francisco, Fresno and Boston – you could pop in your address and Google would work out your house’s solar value, list potential suppliers and work out the savings you could make, if any.

To measure the sunlight, Google’s analytics looks at the number of hours the sun hits your roof, considering key metrics like which way your house faces, shaded regions and trees.

You can put in your average electricity bills and it will work out the savings, if any, behind going solar.

Now it’s being expanded significantly, out towards 16 additional metropolitan areas in Arizona, Nevada, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Colorado.

“We at Google believe in solar energy,” explained Carl Elkin, a senior software engineer behind the project. “The solar industry needs our help.”

Sunroof image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic