The mission of Google is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
While the first instinct is to think about the search engine and its continuous efforts to catalog and rank websites in search, the company also has physical world projects like Google Maps and Google Flights. Project Sunroof is the latest project from the search engine. It is essentially a solar power calculator for homeowners to determine if they should install rooftop panels and use solar energy, and what the costs and benefits would be.
Like many Google tools, the recommendations come from an algorithm. Some of the data points used in the tool for calculations include how much sunlight your roof gets, if that sunlight is affected by shade from trees and other structures nearby, and local weather patterns. Along with other data, the solar power calculator provides what is essentially a score for your residence’s rooftop. You can provide your average electric bill and compare it with the estimated costs of solar.
Like Google Flights, the solar power calculator operates as an aggregator. It works similarly to insurance or travel aggregator websites (e.g. Expedia) that do the price comparison work for you. At the end of the process, you are referred to solar installers that operate in your area. Ultimately, Google’s Project Sunroof is a convenient starting point to decide if solar power is right for you and your home.
Google’s Project Sunroof is still in testing. Originally only available in three areas, it is now available to be used in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Nevada and North Carolina.