Google’s making it easy for you to get solar panels onto your roof
Adding solar panels to your roof is a frustrating process, since it’s often difficult to work out if your home receives enough light to justify your initial investment. Google, however, has mapping, satellite and sunlight data for every property in the world, so it’s ideally placed to let you know how many rays hit your home.
That’s why the firm is launching Sunroof, a database of how much solar energy hits a building in a city to create a “treasure map” of future green energy projects — including how much money you’d make each year.
How do I know if solar power might be right for me?
A few key factors go a long way in determining whether solar power can save you money. You could be a great candidate for rooftop solar if:
- You own your home
- You have a roof that isn’t heavily shaded and is in good condition
- Your home uses at least a moderate amount of electricity
- You have a good credit score (this matters only if you prefer to finance your system)
- You live in one of the roughly 35 states with good solar policy
To begin with, Project Sunroof is only starting in a few places: Boston, San Francisco and Fresno, but if it’s successful, will roll out to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, in the future. Once you’ve worked out how much you’re likely to generate in energy savings, the Sunroof website will put you in touch with a local installer.
We tested the service out on Aol’s building in San Francisco, and it told us that it received 1,841 hours of usable sunlight per year. The site was also able to tell us that we have roughly 15,461 square feet of available space that we could use to install solar panels into that space. It then took us through our options, letting us know that we’d save $14,000 if we leased the hardware from a third party, or $24,000 if we bought them outright.