Technology giant Google made its start as a search engine, subsequently branching into email, cloud storage, advertising and so much more. Now the company from Mountain View is surging forward with a new application, promising to tell consumers if their roofs are suitable for installing solar panels. The program, called Project Sunroof, works in conjunction with Google Maps to analyze your roof's size, orientation and shade levels to tell you at a glance how much solar energy you could get from it. Read on to learn more about how this convenient software works and how it can help you.
A Mix Between a Solar Electrician and a Search Engine
The program is simple to use – all you have to do is enter your address, and Google does the rest. According to the company, the program analyzes all of the following to determine how much sunlight you can soak up:
- ·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
The program also provides information about what tax credits are available in your area as well as the local rules regarding selling solar energy back to the utility company when your panels are producing more than you need. It then spits out a recommended installation size, which you can modify based on how much electricity you actually consume according to your average electricity bill.
Pay Nothing and Start Saving Today
Google's entry into the solar market comes at a time when the options for solar are expanding, including the ability to lease panels from solar companies and enjoy savings on your utility bills while paying nothing for the installation and setup. A good setup can last for 30 years or more, with little to no maintenance from an electrician once the installation is completed.
Of course, solar isn't for everybody, since many roofs might be too shaded or otherwise not suitable, and some states still don't have good solar policies. Therefore, Project Sunroof can be a good place to get started to see if your house is a prospect before you even call a solar electrician. Currently, the program is working on a trial basis in Boston, San Francisco and Fresno, with more cities sure to be on the way.
Don't Forget About Human Experts Just Yet
Of course, even a technology company as powerful and ubiquitous as Google can't fully substitute for an experienced solar technician when it comes to analyzing how you can benefit from panels. If a Google query indicates that your home is a good candidate, have a qualified electrician or solar expert make the final determination and help you decide if solar panels are right for you.