The creation of Alphabet and Android Experiments, the announcement stating Sundar Pichai as Google’s new CEO, and now the launch of Project Sunroof – all have placed Google in the spotlight, this whole August.
The Project Sunroof was initiated by Google engineer Carl Elkin as his 20% time Project with the (stated) purpose “mapping the planet’s solar potential, one roof at a time”. 20% time is a policy which allows Google employees to spend one out of five of their work days on their personal projects. Google News, Gmail and Adsense are some projects which evolved through this policy. Domain says, “Project Sunroof comes under the $US2 billion ($2.8 billion) that Google is funding for renewable energy projects.”
The tools, which use high-resolution aerial imagery and mapping, and 3D modelling, do the calculation and suggests the size of solar panel system a user would need and expected savings he could make if he switch to solar, based on the data from Google Maps, taking into account, the amount of incident sunlight, the shadows from surrounding trees, chimneys and other structures, history of weather conditions and temperature patterns, local solar incentives like Federal and state tax credits, Utility rebates, Renewable energy credits and net metering and the user’s average electricity bill. The website also provides a list of local solar panel installation companies. All we have to do is enter our address in the website.
Currently, the tool works for Boston, San Francisco, and Fresno. Eventually, the project increases its span to cover the entire US and then, hopefully, to the entire world. Though the site is not working at present, in future, when the project spreads to your location, you too can check it to calculate the solar potential of your house.
Carl Elkin posted in the GoogleGreenBlog, “If you find that your address isn’t covered by the tool yet, you can leave your email address and we’ll let you know when Project Sunroof is ready for your rooftop!”
Most of us, though we are environment conscious, wouldn’t like to take the pain of shifting to environment-friendly alternatives and often have many misconceptions about the cost and ease of installation. Google has taken that pain for us. Though similar tools are already in existence, and Project Sunroof would do what every solar panel installation salesman would do, the point that – it is Google that is simplifying their work – would reach and encourage the masses to understand the significance of solar power and take a step ahead. How many ever steps the governments take, and how much ever powerful they are, it is public that should adopt those changes. Huge private adoption of solar energy is what Google aimed for and let’s hope it succeeds.
Image (c) : googlegreenblog.
Video (c) : Google via Youtube