Google’s new Project Sunroof will estimate how much money homeowners can save on electricity costs with solar PV panels. The program models the roof of residential buildings using Google Maps data to determine how much sunshine the roof gets daily. Thermal data shows the parts of the roof with the most exposure to the sun, and can also demonstrate areas that are obstructed or shaded. So far the service is only available in certain cities, but Google has plans to expand. The company also notes that some providers might offer estimates that vary from theirs, since Google Maps’ data could be out of date or inaccurate due to weather.
Google’s goal with Project Sunroof is to facilitate more PV installations by making the process simpler and more accessible. This makes sense as Google has invested in several solar projects – thereby having a stake in the increase of solar uptake. They will also make money by referring Sunroof users to solar PV installer’s websites. The tech giant’s backing of solar and other renewables is significant for a booming industry that’s seeing support from other major player’s like Tesla. Clearly, these companies see a bright financial future in solar energy technology.