There are a lot of things to take into consideration if you want to put solar panels on your roof. If you’re unsure about what to do next, why don’t you Google it? Using its high resolution satellite imagery and huge trove of mapping data, Google has created a tool to help you determine whether you should get solar panels. All you need to do is enter your address into Project Sunroof.
Carl Elkin, the engineering Lead for Project Sunroof, announced this project on Monday. In a blog post, Elkin explains he started the project because the “cost of solar power is at a record low. A typical solar home can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year on their electricity bill.”
“But, as a volunteer with the Boston-based solar program Solarize Massachusetts and a solar homeowner myself, I’ve always been surprised at how many people I encounter who think that ‘my roof isn’t sunny enough for solar,’ or ‘solar is just too expensive.’ Certainly many of them are missing out on a chance to save money and be green,” he added.
The project is currently available in the following pilot cities: San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno (in central California), and Boston. The online tool uses the same data as Google Maps to figure out the solar energy potential of your roof. It takes a number of factors into account, such as how much sunlight hits your roof throughout the year, local weather, roof orientation and even shade from trees and nearby buildings.
Project Sunroof brings all of this information together to estimate the amount of money you could save if you decide to go ahead and get solar panels. The tool can even direct you toward local solar panel providers. Elkin writes that Project Sunroof is part of Google’s wider vision of accelerating the wide-scale adaption of zero-carbon energy. In the next few months, Google will explore expanding the project to other cities.