Google has discovered a new model to determine the kind of houses that could be converted to solar power.
A recently discovered Project Sunroof by the search giant is used to map the quantity of sunlight a rooftop absorbs to determine if it is financially feasible to go solar. By typing the house’s address into the Project Sunroof, consumers can determine the amount of space needed for a solar panel to be on the roof, the number of hours of rooftop sunlight it might receive a annually and how much electricity bills could be slashed by.
Project Sunroof is part of the $2 billion ($2.8 billion) that Google is investing in renewable energy projects.
How it works
Upon typing in the address a Google Earth image of the home appears with the roof a colour ranging from yellow to purple, indicating how much sunlight hits the surface.
To determine this colour rating the program analyses the amount of solar radiation in the area surrounding the roof and 3D modelling of the roof.
It then adjusts for factors such as cloud and temperature patterns and shade from nearby buildings and trees.
Project Sunroof will also recommend the size of solar system that you should install based on your average electricity bill.
The final step in the process is Project Sunroof’s ability to put you in touch with a local solar panel company that will install the system for you.
A Forbes journalist has indicated Project Sunroof’s site does not include information about solar companies paying Google a huge referral fee to anyone sending business to them.
Currently the American cities San Francisco, Fresno and Boston are the only searchable ones.
However, as Business Spectator stated, a similar model from the Photovoltaic Institute already present in Australia. This is known as the ‘Live Solar Potential Tool’;“it is a free tool where a customer can zoom in on a specific household to estimate how much energy the rooftop would be likely to generate with solar panels.”
The Australian PV Institute tool is constrained to limited areas in the Central Business Districts of each regional capital city.
“Google’s program is still a pilot but it is reportedly hoping to expand to the rest of the US.”
M. Wedesweiler. 26 August 2015. Google can tell if a home should convert to solar energy:http://www.domain.com.au/news/google-can-tell-if-a-home-should-convert-to-solar-energy-20150826-gj6bur/. [Accessed August 27, 2015]