San Francisco – Google’s latest project makes calculating solar panel costs easier for consumers.
: Project Sunroof calculates the amount of sunlight that a property receives over one year and the money that could be saved by installing solar panels
: Uses Google’s extensive mapping data and computing resources to recommend the best solar planThe free service is designed to make installing solar panels as easy and understandable a process as possible. Piloted in San Francisco, Boston and Fresno, California, Project Sunroof uses Google’s extensive database of aerial imagery and maps to determine its location-specific recommendations.
Users enter a zip code to identify a property and the software then produces a 3D model of its roof to calculate its size and shape. Further variables, including the position of the sun over one year, shadows cast by nearby structures and trees, and historical cloud and temperature patterns that may affect solar energy production, are also taken into consideration.
Using this data, Project Sunroof calculates the number of useable hours of sunlight per year, the space available for solar installation and the estimated net savings over a 20-year period. Users can fine-tune their calculations by inputting their average monthly energy bill.
To help with costing, Google scans and compares financing plans based on a property’s requirements and offers advice on lease, loan and purchase models.
The Big Picture: Having graduated from search engine to mega-system, Google has the capacity to address social issues through the reach of its data and its integration in consumers’ lives. For more about the implications of Immortal Brands, read our Whole-system Thinking macrotrend.