In a new video posted today, Google announced a new effort to
take over your life spur further adoption of clean energy. “Project Sunroof” uses data from Google Maps to tell people whether their homes are good candidates for solar panels, and if so, where they can go to get them installed.
Using the new Project Sunroof website you can take a look at your house and see if it’s a good candidate for solar panel installation. The website asks you to enter your address in Google Maps, then uses the location data, Street View, and satellite imagery to calculate the shape of your roof, how much sun your roof gets, and factors in shade from trees and other buildings. It even connects you to solar panel installers in the area, just in case you’re so pumped by the results you can’t wait to take that next step.
The project is only available in a few places right now, specifically, San Francisco (which many Googlers call home), Boston (where the Project Sunroof engineers are based), and Fresno, California. Why Fresno? Not only is it generally sunny, it’s also where one of the engineers’ moms lives. Awwww….
This being Google, there are plans to expand the project to locations across the country, and as the video says, “maybe even the whole world.”
The move is in keeping with Google’s previously stated clean energy ambitions, some of which (cough, Google Powermeter, cough), haven’t proved popular enough to avoid getting axed. But Project Sunroof seems like a clever way to repurpose Google’s massive amounts of location and business data for a new purpose, without much additional overhead on the company’s part. The announcement also comes at an interesting time for Google, following the announcement that the entire company was being reorganized under the name “Alphabet,” supposedly to allow Google’s founders to focus more on moonshot ideas, while keeping the main Google businesses more separate.