Google Gives Homeowners a View of Rooftop Solar with Project Sunroof
Ever heard of Google’s Project Sunroof? For tens of millions of homeowners, it’s an easy way to find out if their house is suitable for solar panels.
Project Sunroof is a solar power initiative created by Google engineer Carl Elkin with the goal of “mapping the planet’s solar potential, one roof at a time”. It essentially leverages Google’s expansive data in mapping and its computing resources to help users calculate the maximum solar resource available to their home.
The initiative was launched in August 2015 in three cities- San Francisco, Fresno, and Boston. In January 2016, it expanded to 20 U.S. metropolitan markets in the most active solar states in the U.S. and then in April grew to 42 states (including parts of Florida) with the ability to analyze approximately 43 million rooftops.
How does Project Sunroof work?
- When you enter your address, Project Sunroof looks up your home in Google Maps and combines that info with other databases to generate a personalized roof analysis.
- In order to compute how much sunlight hits your roof annually, Project Sunroof takes into account:
- Google's database of aerial imagery and maps
- 3D modeling of your roof
- Shadows cast by nearby structures and trees
- All possible sun positions over the course of a year
- Historical cloud and temperature patterns that might affect solar energy production
- Based on all of the data, Project Sunroof recommends an installation size to generate close to 100% of your electricity use (based on roof size, the amount of sun hitting the roof and your electricity bill).
- From there, Project Sunroof uses current solar industry pricing data to price out leasing, taking a loan or buying solar panels for your home and calculates your final cost considering federal and state tax credits, utility rebates and renewable energy credits.
- If you choose, Project Sunroof can also put you in contact with solar providers in your area.
(It should be noted that Project Sunroof doesn’t give your address to anyone else, including providers unless you ask it to.)
Project Sunroof is designed to provide a broad, liberal, and understandable view of the solar resource on your home or for an address you input. The output is a useful first step for homeowners who are interested in the basic understanding of their homes solar feasibility.
Need a more detailed view of your home?
Here at Vinyasun we actually use this same data and technology but are able to dig deeper to provide you and other homeowners with a specific calculation of the most usable areas of your home -- not just a broad range. By isolating the most usable areas of the rooftop we can then design the most productive and cost effective solar system ensuring that you pay less for energy by switching to rooftop solar.
Are you in interested seeing how much solar energy is hitting your home? Are you interested in solar panels for your home? Contact us for a free home energy analysis and start with a free shade and energy analysis and report for your home just like the data from Google Project Sunroof?