Google’s Project Sunroof will map the planet’s solar potential [VIDEO]

Solar optimization map tells users the best places to gather energy from roof-mounted solar panels.

August 20, 2015
by PLANT Staff

An aerial view from Google's Project Sunroof application. PHOTO: GOOGLE INC.

An aerial view from Google’s Project Sunroof application. PHOTO: GOOGLE INC.

SAN FRANCISCO — Google has developed a tool that will help solar power users optimize solar panel placements.

Dubbed Project Sunroof, the tool is essentially a solar optimization map that tells users where to find the best places in their city to gather solar energy from roof-mounted solar panels.

The search engine produces results by combining aerial and map data. Google Maps, 3D modeling of roof structure, historical cloud and temperature patterns that could impact power generation are considered in the results as well.

The map also provides cost estimates based on monthly electric bills to describe potential energy cost savings over a 20-year period and provides a list of registered solar suppliers in the local area.

When you plug an address into the search page, a map of the roof areas with the most shade or sun exposure will appear. It also lists how much usable sunlight per year the roof could provide and the available square footage available on that roof for solar panels.

So far, the project has been rolled in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area and Fresno, Calif. Google says it plans to extend the coverage of the map to the rest of the US and, eventually, possibly the rest of the planet.

Check out the video below for a more scientific explanation of this incredibly cool project.

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