Google continues its experimentation with clean energy, launching a pilot project to let homeowners view their solar rooftop potential:
The service will calculate how much sunlight hits any given rooftop throughout the year, taking into account shade from trees, the angle of the building and other nearby properties that may create a shadow. It can also tell the user how much they could expect to save on their energy bills by installing solar PV and then point them to a nearby installer.
The idea was developed by Google employee Carl Elkin, who said he hoped the scheme would encourage more people to invest in solar PV.
Project Sunroof, as it’s called, could end up encouraging people to go solar who might have otherwise dismissed the potential on their rooftop.
For example, I had a friend from Portland, Oregon who was convinced solar wouldn’t work for his house, due to the cloudy weather there. I told him to get some solar bids just in case it could work. But with this service he could do a much-simpler Google check. It will save him the hassle of calling solar installers, waiting for them to show up, and then sorting through bids and presentations.
This kind of low-lift site could lower customer acquisition costs for solar installers and encourage a whole lot more people to go solar.