Now Google Shows You Your Solar Potential

Project Sunroof

Google has come out with a fabulous way to easily check your own solar potential with its new online roof tool “Project Sunroof”.

Leveraging Google’s already awesome aerial mapping like in Google Earth, Project Sunroof makes it possible to check and see how much you could save at a glance if you were to go solar – as long as you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, or Boston, MA.

The idea is brilliant. Because we can trust google to be impartial, am I right?

Solves procrastination

You know you should check into solar, but it can feel a little scary filling out forms and asking on a solar company to do an estimate, even though you know it’s free. Maybe because it’s free. And so you put it off. What if they strong-arm you into feeling you should do something, and you’re not sure if it makes sense. What if going solar sounds too good to be true. Is solar really right for me? The more these questions pile up, the less you want to ask for an estimate. So you just put off even checking it out.

Well, Google can give you an unbiased view.

This is the real genius of Project Sunroof. You get that accurate info, as if confided by a trusted friend. Now you come armed with information that you bring to the table. Now, if you don’t think an estimate makes sense, you can say, “But Google says I should save this much!”

Google loves solar

“Millions of people already search Google every year to learn more about solar power. We’re big believers in clean energy ourselves, and Project Sunroof is a way for us to do even more to help people explore the value of going solar,” Barry Fischer, a spokesperson for Google, wrote in an email.

“We’re excited to use our expertise in maps, machine learning, and high-resolution aerial data from Google Earth to make it happen.”

As it happens, Project Sunroof was not a top-down decision by Google, but instead is the result of the surplus inventiveness of its clever employees.

Through something the company calls its “20 percent project”, employees get to spend one day a week – or 20 percent of their time – working on whatever side projects might interest them.

Project Sunroof

How it works

The way they put it together, you just pop in your address at Project Sunroof and Google estimates everything from that, what your insolation rate is (how good the solar potential is in your zip code) as well as just how much shade your roof can be expected to get.

Google has algorithms for taking into account how high the neighboring buildings and trees are and where they are in relation to your roof at that height — and exactly how much shade they will  cast as the seasons change from sun-up to sun-down all year round.

And of course, what your local weather patterns are – when do you tend get fog, and so on. So, go ahead. See what your savings can be.

Potential gold mine

You have to love how all these roofs are gleaming golden like cartoon gold nuggets – it really gets across how going solar saves real money, and how each of our homes is kind of a gold mine – but we just never knew till now.

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