Google enters home solar space with Project Sunroof tool

Google enters home solar space with Project Sunroof tool

Photo via Google

Google is focusing its data and mapping prowess on the home solar power market with the launch of Project Sunroof.

Vivint Solar has teamed up with Google for Project Sunroof, a new online tool created by Google that provides homeowners with custom solar information for their home. The tool uses high-resolution aerial mapping (the same used by Google Earth) to help calculate a roof's solar energy potential, without having to climb up a ladder.

"Vivint Solar teaming up with Google is giving homeowners across the country immediate insight, information and access to rooftop solar power—that's good for everyone," said Greg Butterfield, CEO of Vivint Solar.

The new online tool is being tested in San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, and greater Boston. The program will tell the homeowner how much sunlight hits their rooftop throughout the year while factoring in roof orientation, shade from trees and nearby buildings, and local weather patterns.

A homeowner can also enter their typical electric bill cost for more customized results. The tool will combine the information to estimate the amount a homeowner could potentially save with solar panels, and it can help connect them with local solar providers, like Vivint Solar.

"Vivint Solar has created an incredible product that's revolutionizing the energy market," said Dwain Kinghorn, Chief Strategy and Innovations Officer at Vivint Solar. "It's simple. It's affordable. And together with Google, we're able to let customers all over the country know that solar power is a lot simpler and more affordable than they might have thought."

Project Sunroof computes how much sunlight hits a roof in a year. It 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

Project Sunroof recommends an installation size to generate close to 100 percent of your electricity use, based on roof size, the amount of sun hitting the roof, and your electricity bill.

Solar panel installations come in sizes measured in kilowatts (kW). When discussing solar installation with your providers, the recommended installation size (in kW) is a good starting point for a more fine-tuned estimate of total costs and benefits.

Read more about home solar power.

Topics: Going Green, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power, Sustainable Communities

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