Googles Project Sunroof Helps Germans Go Solar

first_img Hyundai Launches First Car With a Solar RoofFor $170,000 You Can Buy Your Very Own Solar Car Stay on target Environmentally friendly Germans can now determine the solar potential of their rooftops.Nearly two years after launching Project Sunroof in the US, Google is expanding its program to Europe—starting in the Land der Dichter und Denker.Using high-resolution aerial mapping, Google can help consumers “make accurate decisions about solar power for their homes,” Project Sunroof product manager Joel Conkling wrote in a blog announcement.Some 7 million buildings are covered, including those in urban areas like Munich, Berlin, Rhine-Main, and Ruhr, where homeowners can calculate their estimated rooftop solar potential by simply entering their address online.The smart technology—an amalgamation of Google Earth, Google Maps, 3D models, and machine learning—factors in roof orientation, nearby tree and building shade, and local weather patterns. It also considers typical electric bill rates for customized results.My parents’ house in Mount Pleasant, S.C., for example, collects 1,615 hours of usable sunlight per year (based on daily weather patterns). Combined with the 1,251 square feet available for solar panels (based on 3D modeling and nearby tree coverage), they could save $15,000 over 20 years.To refine the results, tap “fine-tune estimate.” If you’re already convinced, click through to see solar providers in your area. German users can purchase a suitable system of photovoltaic modules, energy storage, and system management software directly from Project Sunroof partner E.ON.“With Sunroof, we are able to digitize sales of solar systems more intensively and thereby increase the appeal of photovoltaics,” E.ON COO Karsten Wildberger said in a statement. “It clearly demonstrates the potential benefits of digitalization for the ongoing shift in energy production.”Initially tested in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, and Boston, the program, which utilizes the same technology in use by Google Earth, has expanded nationwide, and currently covers about 40 percent of German homes.There is no word on a timeline for future growth within the the country or the rest of the globe.“Google has been using renewable energy sources within our own infrastructure and beyond for many years,” Conkling wrote, highlighting the company’s commitment for 100 percent renewable energy across worldwide operations in 2017.“With Project Sunroof, we want to help people become even more aware of the solar potential that’s just above the rafters,” he continued. “The future is bright.”last_img