From www.visualnews.com, by Benjamin Starr on August 19, 2015
With lower priced solar and big players like Elon Musk in the game, people are warming up to solar. While getting it installed on your home is easier by the day, there has been a barrier remaining: will it even work on your roof? Now Google is coming to the rescue with Project Sunroof.
When Google noticed an influx of queries on their search engine from people wondering if solar would work on their roof, the tech giant leveraged their huge store of information from Google Maps to figure out how much sun falls on each slope of a building’s roof. The system takes into account things like angle of the roof, the weather, and obstructions like trees and chimneys.
After analyzing the visual data, Google then uses those measurements to determine how many panels you’ll probably need, what kind of savings to expect and what kind of solar incentives are available in your area.
The system then looks at the differences between leasing or buying panels, and will even send your estimate to local solar installers.
The true brilliance of this system is that Google hasn’t had to hit the streets to make it happen, they’re simply using the big data they already have in a new and useful way. If you live in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area or Fresno, you can try it out now, but expect this to expand quickly.