Now through an effort coined ‘Project Sunroof‘ .. cleaver I know … Google is helping to shape your access to quick solar analysis on the rooftop of your home for energy potential to see is solar right for you.
Project Sunroof is an online tool that allows you to enter your home address and find out how much of an impact solar panels would have on your home. From how many hours per year your rooftop receives sunlight to how much potential cost savings you could realize if you adopt a solar collection system.
Google Earth would showcase the imagery of your local neighborhood and separate out nearby surfaces from your rooftop. Providing a heat map of intensity you see a visual of solar impact on your home.
“At Google, we knew we had the expertise to do this well using Google maps and aerial imaging,” said Barry Fischer, a Google spokesperson. “Project Sunroof draws upon the same high-resolution imagery that powers Google Earth.”
There are other platforms that offer homeowners similar functionality which have been created by government agencies at local and state levels, solar installation companies like Sungevity and the United States Department of Energy but Google’s platform is said to be more intelligent.
How do I know that this technology is accurately assessing solar gains?
Well one aspect that stands out is called machine learning. The program recognizes the different surfaces around your home and requires less manual input to call out the specific areas available for solar installations. Therefore being able to distinguish your driveway for example from your rooftop automatically.
Fischer offers some details on reducing the inconsistencies associated with other platforms by stating “Based on our testing, we found that using machine-learning techniques alone helped reduce classification errors by 75% compared to using traditional methods of determining the boundaries of buildings and rooftops.”
This makes it more efficient and feasible to roll out to a larger audience. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if this feature got incorporated into Google Maps in a few years.
However until then this is still a pilot program under development available only in the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Fresno, California areas.
To a greater extent, Project Sunroof could and presumably is being used to investigate the overall solar capacity throughout the United States.
The interface will also be able to estimate the size of the solar system based upon electricity utilization and billing rates. You would be able to receive financial options for investing in the system which is being displayed on screen and considered by you.
Then you would be able to setup a consultation directly with Google’s solar provider partners—SunWork, Vivint, SunEdison, SunPower, or NRG Solar.
Offering you a complete and convenient one stop shop for getting the information you need on solar collection systems specific to your home without the door to door sales person trying to convert you over to solar.
I’m personally going to be investing in solar at some point in the future but seriously, when it feels like every week someone is coming up to the door from different companies (sometimes the same) about my potential for going solar, it seems a bit much.
Google is … big surprise here … in the works to potentially accept referral fees for those who adopt solar energy systems.
They are also continuing to develop the Project Sunroof platform and expand the innovative online tool into other opportunities.
You can now Google your Home to see is Solar Right for you
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