Google’s new mapping and analysis tool for potential solar energy consumers has now made solar installation a very simple process.
Thanks to the fall in the cost of installing solar power, more homeowners are now turning to solar energy as a viable option for cutting their energy bills, which also increases the home value. The latest move by tech giant Google to venture into the world of renewable energy is timely and poised to make solar panel installation “easy and understandable for anyone”.
On Monday August 17 Google unveiled Project Sunroof, a new and exciting tool set to provide valuable information for prospective solar consumers. The Project will avail comprehensive information for customers willing to set up a new solar pv system, including financials, shading analysis and information about reliable local installers. At the moment, Project Sunroof is limited to Boston, Fresno and San Francisco though Google plans to roll it out across the nation.
The program utilizes Google’s expansive mapping data and computing resources to help customers calculate the best solar plans in a bid to make the right choice in installing PV systems.
How Project Sunroof works
Once you enter your address in the program as an indication you are interested in installing solar PV, Project Sunroof will search for your home in Google Maps and combine the information with other database resources to provide a personalized roof analysis that includes shading analysis (trees and other obstructions that prevent optimal solar energy output), as well as cloud patterns.
And there’s no need to worry, Project Sunroof cannot give your address to anybody else unless you request it to.
Next, the program will ask you for information concerning your electricity usage to enable it calculate the maximum system size, while aiming at 100 per cent coverage. Information on utility, state and federal rebates and incentives as well as renewable energy credits and net metering will also be provided. In addition, the program gives the potential customer information on solar providers within their region.
Customizing Solar Output for Your Roof
Google’s Project Sunroof can calculate how much sunlight hits your roof annually. It takes into consideration:
- 3D modelling of your roof
- Google’s maps and aerial imagery database
- Shadows and obstructions cast by surrounding trees and structures
- All possible sun positions during the course of the year
- Past cloud and temperature patterns likely to affect solar energy output
Your power needs and cost savings
The program recommends installation of PV sizes that can generate nearly 100 per cent of your power use, depending on your roof size, electricity bill and the amount of sun hitting your roof. You can visit Australian Solar Quotes for more information on PV sizes.
Project Sunroof relies on the current pricing data in the solar industry to calculate the figures for leasing, loans or purchasing solar panels for your home in order to help you choose a suitable option.
Project Sunroof also compiles these three incentives to compute the customer’s final cost. These are:
- Utility rebates
- State and Federal tax credits
- Renewable energy credits and net metering
It’s worth noting that the concept of Project Sunroof’s remarkable service are not new. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) has for years been providing cost estimates and energy production via its PV Watts Tool.
Furthermore, Sungevity, a third-party service provider has also been offering online estimates including financial payback, power output as well as roof shading analysis; however these services were only provided to potential customers and not the entire public, through an unidentified online process.