Google’s new tool unlocks solar rooftop potential

Google has unveiled a new tool to calculate the solar viability of rooftops. ‘Project Sunroof’ uses Google Earth imagery to allow anyone to look up their own home and see whether its worth […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Google has unveiled a new tool to calculate the solar viability of rooftops.

‘Project Sunroof’ uses Google Earth imagery to allow anyone to look up their own home and see whether its worth investing in rooftop solar panels.

The software takes into account the shape of roofs, local weather patterns, the position of sun in the sky at different times of year and shade from nearby buildings or trees to calculate how much energy each building can generate and how much money it can save.

The technology giant suggests 79% of roofs in the US are sunny enough to economically install the clean technology.

The service is only currently available in the US, where Houston came out on top with as much as 18,940GWh of solar power potential each year, enough to power roughly 1.7 million average sized homes.

Users can even input electricity bill information to work out the ideal number of solar panels to put in.

As well as domestic consumers, the tool is also expected to help solar companies find new customers and provide vital data for academic researchers and even utility firms.